Theatre: The Likes of Us

And this, Ladies and Gentlemen, is what failed to launch the careers of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber forty years ago.
Stephen Fry as the narrator

The Likes of Us is the little-known, first-ever Webber/Rice musical. It is based on the true story of Thomas John Barnardo, a philanthropist who founded homes for destitute children in Victorian London.

Written in 1965, lack of funding prevented the musical being performed until 2005. The play is now almost exclusively staged by amateur theatre groups.

Tropes featured in the musical:

  • Angry Mob Song: "Hold a March" and "We'll Get Him". The latter is also reprised. Both are sung by crowds of displeased Londoners who think Thomas Barnardo is an interfering prat.
  • Auction: Thomas Bernardo buys a gin-palace, the Edinburgh Castle, in an auction in order to transform it into a tea and coffee establishment.
    • The auction song, "Going, Going, Gone", was the first Webber/Rice song ever written.
  • Based on a True Story: Tells the story of Thomas Barnardo's struggle to set up his charity in Victorian Britain. With, y'know, additional musical numbers.
  • Beta Couple: Johnny and Jenny.
  • Dark Reprise: Johnny and Jenny's upbeat love song "Love is Here", which admittedly doesn't actually have any reason for being there, is reprised in a slower tempo later, as the two lovers are breaking up.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Rose.
  • Letter Motif: Johnny and Jenny.
  • Patter Song: "Going, Going, Gone" is very fast and very wordy.
  • Quintessential British Gentlemen: The British cabinet sing an assertion of Britain's imperial might.
    Why does England lead the world; Queen and Empire understand?
    Oh, England! Valiant rock of splendour!
    Lionhearted Land!
  • Spot of Tea: Bernardo and Syrie transform the Edinburgh Castle gin-palace into a tea and coffee establishment invoking a huge song-and-dance number, "Have Another Cup Of Tea", from the cockney customers about the wonders of tea.
  • Wine Is Classy: The British cabinet seem to think so.
    Oh, I must comment on this wine; its character is strong,
    Its impudence is striking and its flavour lingers long.
    We can spot these subtleties; in this we stand alone.
    The foreigners are only there to see the grapes get grown.

Alternative Title(s):

The Likes Of Us