Flanders and Swann to Play Jermyn Street, Jan. 22

News   Flanders and Swann to Play Jermyn Street, Jan. 22

It has to be a first - a one-man show about a duo. Stefan Bednarczyk's An Evening of Flanders and Swann opens at Jermyn street Theatre on Jan. 22 for a short run to Feb. 9.

Flanders and Swann were two of Britain's greatest post-war comedy singer-songwriters, whose double act was an immensely popular feature of 1950s light entertainment. Specializing in comic songs and gentle satire, they were a success on both sides of the Atlantic.

One of their revues, At the Drop of a Hat, ran on Broadway for more than 1,000 performances and for two years at the Fortune Theatre in the West End.

Swann, the Welsh-born composer, and Flanders, the bearded lyricist, confined to a wheelchair by polio contracted during the war, seamlessly picked up the salon-entertainment tradition of Noël Coward, though their wit was gentler than his, and their songs dealt more with everyday life - one of the reasons for the width of their public appeal. Among their fans were the Royal Family, especially the Queen Mother.

Their songs, recalled in Bednarczyk's tribute to the pair, included I'm a Gnu, The Gas Man Cometh, The Hippopotamus Song and Have Some Madeira, M'Dear. The fact that they needed no other props than a standard lamp and a grand piano will come in helpful at the bijou Jermyn Street Theatre, a central London venue that has established an enviable reputation for staging "nostalgia" music with a contemporary bite and relevance - the recent musical Over My Shoulder, a tribute to 1930s star Jesie Matthews was a sell-out.

—by Theatrenow