SIGH NO MORE

This Noel Coward revue opened at the Piccadilly Theatre in London on August 22, 1945 and ran for 213 performances.  It was written, composed and directed by Noel Coward.  It starred Cyril Ritchard, his wife Madge Elliott and Joyce Grenfell.

Title Roles Performers
1 Sigh No More Harlequin Graham Payne
Singing Silphides Renee Stocker, Ann Martin, Daphne Anderson, Ann Sullivan, Joy O'Neill, Irlin Hall, Marion Gordon, Gretta Grayson, Mavis Ray, Nancy McNaughton, Barbara Jdanova, Silvia Ashmole, Enid Meredith, Barbara Barrie, Vivien Merchant, Betty Matthews, Sheila Calder, Jean Allison, Zoe Jack
2 DuMaurier Society Lady Joyce Grenfell (music Richard Addinsell; lyrics Joyce Grenfell)
3 Parting of the Ways Lenora Madge Elliott
Michael Cyril Ritchard
4 Language - French - Troops, For the Use of by Cliff Gordon (no performer credited)
5 Mother and Daughter The Mother Gwen Bateman
The Daughter Joy O'Neill
6 Indian Army Officer Cyril Ritchard sings "I Wonder What Happened to Him"
7 Music Hath Charms (music & lyrics Norman Hackforth) Miss Lawson Madge Elliott
Miss Freeman Ann Martin
Mr. Elphinstone Alan Clive
Two Girls Daphne Anderson, Irlin Hall
A Boy Grant Tyler
A Girl Gail Kendal
8 Never Again The Singer Graham Payn
Extras Zoe Jack, Mavis Ray, Barbara Jdanova, Silvia Ashmole, Barbara Barrie
9 This is the End of the News Joyce Grenfell
10 Loch Lomond (arrangement Norman Hackforth) Gail Kendal
11 Pageant Countess of Fairfield Madge Elliott
Herald Gail Kendal
Housemaids Daphne Anderson, Betty Matthews
Viking Lance Hamilton
Spirit of Masque Cyril Ritchard
Lady Maud Hailsbury Ann Martin
Mistress Joan Joy O'Neill
Mistress Alice Renee Stocker
Sir Guy de Belchamp John Hugo
Village Girls Zoe Jack, Mavis Ray, Irlin Hall, Vivien Merchant, Jean Allison, Sheila Calder
Cardinal Wolsey Alan Clive
Queen Elizabeth Josephine Way
Lord Belchamp Howard Gilbert
Charles II's Pages Silvia Ashmole, Gretta Grayson
Lady Primrose Fairfield Joyce Grenfell
Nurse to Lady Primrose Fedora Bernard
Charles II Graham Payn
Nelson Cliff Gordon
Lord Fairfield Frank O'Connor
Lady Fairfield Daphne Anderson
Lady Hamilton Marion Gordon
Town Crier Alan Clive
Nelsonian Villagers Silvia Ashmole, Gretta Grayson, Barbara Jdanova, Gwen Bateman, Joy O'Neill, Ann Sullivan, Betty Matthews, Enid Meredith, Renee Stocker
Nelsonian Sailors Charles Russell, Grant Tyler, Leslie Baker, Howard Gilbert
Britannia Madge Elliott
Neptune Tom Linden

Part 2

12 Mantovani & His Orchestra
13 Willy Willy Tom Linden
Good Angel Madge Elliott
Bad Angel Cyril Ritchard
14 Wait a Bit, Joe Graham Payn
15 Travelling Broadens the Mind Joyce Grenfell (written by her)
16 Nina Gigolo Tom Linden
Nina Gail Kendal
Singer Cyril Ritchard
17 The Merry Wives of Windsor Mrs. Macadoo Madge Elliott
Ladies Marion Gordon, Rennee Stocker, Ann Martin, Irlin Hall, Daphne Anderson
Private Niven Cyril Ritchard
18 Matelot Graham Payn
19 Blithe Spirit Ballet Charles Tom Linden
Madame Arcati Daphne Anderson
Edith Betty Matthews
Ruths Barbara Barrie, Enid Meredith, Irlin Hall, Mavis Ray, Sheila Calder, Jean Allison
Elviras Nancy McNaughton, Barbara Jdanova, Zoe Jack, Silvia Ashmole, Gretta Grayson, Vivien Merchant
20 The Burchells of Battersea Rise Cyril Ritchard, Madge Elliott, Joyce Grenfell, Graham Payn
21 Finale, Sigh No More Entire Company

In Manchester, a sketch, JAPANESE SPIES, with Madge Elliott and Cyril Ritchard was included, but did not make it to London.

Click here for a photo of  THE BURCHELLS OF BATTERSEA RISE.  My friend John Groushko has kindly provided me with the lyrics for this:
We are those people who seldom make fusses,
You see us in tubes and in trams and in buses,
We couldn't be classed as 'Noblesse',
Nevertheless
We're not so humble,
Any observer who's really observant
Can see how we flinch at the phrase 'Civil Servant',
The Government fools us,
Bureaucracy rules us,
But still we mustn't grumble,
We're the class that they take for a ride,
Still we say with commendable pride:

We're the Burchells of Battersea Rise,
We're the backbone of England and proud of the fact,
Though in utter confusion we're frequently hurled
By political views from the News of the World
We're supposed to be solid and wise
Though we don't hold with boasting out loud of the fact.
If the workers unite
We'll be Left and quite Right
And cry, 'Oh what a surprise
For the Burchells of Battersea Rise!'Though we're fed up with restrictions and strictures
We learn about life from the Press and the Pictures
So all our inaccurate views
You must excuse
And rise above them.
Having survived over five years of war
If the National Government wants an encore
We shall pray that it warms up
And fill some more forms up
To prove how much we love them,
Though we're dead against rocking the boat
Still we hold the majority vote.

We're the Burchells of Battersea Rise,
We believe every word that we read in the Press,
When encouraged to argue and stick out our chins
We go off at half-cock and Bureaucracy wins,
We resent and detest and despise
Being talked of as THIS HAPPY BREED in the Press,
If the author we meet
We'd be happy to greet
Him with two lovely black eyes
From the Burchells of Battersea Rise.

We're the Burchells of Battersea Rise
And we see at least four Double-Features a week,
To American war films we'd rather not go
For we say, 'How by Golly would Hollywood know?’
If they have people in to advise
We can only surmise that their teachers are weak,
Though we've seen many actors
Win through through Max Factor's
We can't hand them a prize
From the Burchells of Battersea Rise.

We're the Burchells of Battersea Rise
And we've written and written and written again
To some local official who Dad seems to think
Might concede us a permit to build a new sink,
We've already had several tries,
It's as bad as the Battle of Britain again,
Though we've drawn up the plans
We shall sit on our cans
Till the old bastard replies
To the Burchells of Battersea Rise.

We're the Burchells of Battersea Rise
And we all believed firmly in 'Peace-in-our-time',
We heard speeches from Germans and Eyeties and Frogs,
No one knew what they meant so we went to the dogs
And the Government told us such lies,
We've heard plenty of cackling old geese in our time,
We were mugs to agree
But in future we'll see
That they don't capitalize
On the Burchells of Battersea Rise.

We're the Burchells of Battersea Rise
And when foreigners murmur, 'We hope you're all right,'
How we wish that they'd buzz off and leave us alone
For we live chock-a-block in an occupied zone
With the land full of alien spies.
Poor old England's a bleeding Utopia all right,
We've got Bishops and Peers
Who will burst into tears
If the Huns won't fraternize
With the Burchells of Battersea Rise.

We're the Burchells of Battersea Rise
And we're faced with a dismal selection again,
We may find if we swallow the Socialist bait
That a simple head cold is controlled by the State,
Though we know Winston Churchill is wise
And we'd love him to win the election again,
If he's forced to say 'Yes'
To the Beaverbrook press
There'll be loud animal cries
From the Burchells of Battersea Rise.

In his autobiography, Alan Melville wrote:  The greatest lyric-writers of the past half-century are Coward and Farjeon.  In his revue SIGH NO MORE, Coward wrote a brilliant lyric called 'Nina'; it was about a lady from Argentina who was mad about dancing the samba and fell in love with a sailor with a wooden leg.  As well as being very funny, it was filled to capacity with double and triple rhymes; it had such a verbal rhythm to it that it hardly needed music; I envied it.  (This number was sung by Cyril Ritchard.)

NINA (by Noel Coward)

Senorita Nina
From Argentina
Knew all the answers,
Although her relatives and friends were perfect dancers
She swore she'd never dance a step until she died.
She said, 'I've seen too many movies
And all they prove is
Too idiotic,
They all insist that South America's exotic
Whereas it couldn't be more boring if it tried.

She added firmly that she hated
The sound of soft guitars beside a still lagoon,
She also positively stated
That she could not abide a Southern Moon,
She said with most refreshing candour
That she thought Carmen Miranda
Was subversive propaganda
And should rapidly be shot,
She said she didn't care a jot
If people quoted her or not!

She refused to begin the Beguine
When they requested it
And she made an embarrassing scene
If anyone suggested it
For she detested it.
Though no one ever could be keener
Than little Nina
On quite a number
Of very eligible men who did the Rumba
When they proposed to her she simply left them flat.
She said that love should be impulsive
But not convulsive
And syncopation
Has a discouraging effect on procreation
And that she'd rather read a hook-and that was that!

Senorita Nina
From Argentina
Despised the Tango
And though she never was a girl to let a man go
She wouldn't sacrifice her principles for sex.
She looked with scorn on the gyrations
Of her relations
Who danced the Conga
And swore that if she had to stand it any longer
She'd lose all dignity and wring their silly necks!

She said that frankly she was blinded
To all their over-advertised romantic charms
And then she got more bloody-minded
And told them where to put their tropic
palms.
She said I hate to be pedantic
But it drives me nearly frantic
When I see that unromantic
Sycophantic
Lot of sluts
For ever wriggling their guts,
It drives me absolutely nuts!
She declined to begin the Beguine
Though they besought her to
And in language profane and obscene
She cursed the man who taught her to,
She cursed Cole Porter too!

From this it's fairly clear that Nina
In her demeanour
Was so offensive
That when the hatred of her friends grew too intensive
She thought she'd better beat it while she had the chance.
After some trial and tribulation
She reached the station
And met a sailor
Who had acquired a wooden leg in Venezuela
And so she married him because he couldn’t dance!

There surely never could have been a
More irritating girl than Nina,
They never speak in Argentina
Of this degenerate bambina
Who had the luck to find romance
But resolutely wouldn't dance!
She wouldn't dance! Hola!!


Compiled by Judy Harris

Visit my Joyce Grenfell webpage at http://www.bestweb.net/~foosie/grenfell.htm

or my Cyril Ritchard webpage at http://www.bestweb.net/~foosie/cyril.htm

or my homepage at http://www.bestweb.net/~foosie/index.htm

or e-mail me at foosie@bestweb.net

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