“A romance based on the life of Benjamin Disraeli”
The title of the play written by Val comes from the shout by policemen each night when the House of Commons rises, throughout the Palace of Westminster “Who goes home?”, a relic of the days when Members of Parliament were escorted safely to their beds. Val obtained special permission to be allowed to quote passages from Disraeli’s own letters which she was able to weave into the script of the play.
Performance dates were Wednesday 28th – Friday 30th November and Saturday 1st December 1984, and the following week 4th – 8th December. Being so well received by our appreciative audiences, we repeated the show ten years later and, being suckers for punishment, that second production took another whole lot of planning and rehearsal scheduling for the huge cast and crew (over 30 of us!)
Synopsis of Who Goes Home?
Disraeli recalls his first meeting with Mary Anne Wyndham Lewis at a soiree at Bulwer Lytton’s house on 27 April 1832. She was 12 years his senior and was married to one of his parliamentary colleagues, Wyndham Lewis.
In his words: “I was introduced by particular desire to Mrs Wyndham Lewis, a pretty little woman, a flirt and a rattle, indeed gifted with volubility I should think unequalled and of which I can convey no idea. She told me she liked silent, melancholy men. I answered that I had no doubt of it.”
Recognising the talent and apparent genius of the flamboyant and extraordinary young man Disraeli, Mary Ann uses her husband’s influence to help to secure for him a seat in parliament – the start of his colourful, controversial but brilliant career.
Upon the death of Wyndham Lewis, Disraeli proposes marriage to Mary Ann whose friends impress upon her their age difference and the fact that Disraeli is looking to prosper with her wealth and influence. She eventually rejects his proposal but then is so lovelorn she finally and joyfully relents. When they married in 1839 (although largely for Disraeli’s financial convenience) to everyone’s surprise they fell in love and it was an extremely happy union.
Established as a name in politics, with his beloved Mary Ann as his ‘guiding angel’ Disraeli – known familiarly as “Dizzy” – strives against dramatic setbacks to attain his ultimate goal. Disraeli reigns in triumph as Queen Victoria’s favourite and in the last poignant scene of the play as Dizzy is gently drifting away to his final rest, his private secretary Monty Cory takes up the narrative as the great man dies.
Benjamin Disraeli …… Peter Buckman
Monty Corry (Private Secretary) …… Neil Canning
Mary Ann …… Jackie Finlay
Count D’Orsay …… Andy Gutteridge
Edward Bulwer-Lytton …… David Hoad
Captain Neal …… Grant Duckett
Rosina Bulwer-Lytton …… Jill Edwards
William Ewart Gladstone …… Bruce Finlay
Lord Carrington …… Ted Shears
Lady Cork …… Sue Orchard
Wydham Lewis …… Jim Harper
Ladies at the soiree …… Lindsay Jacques, Sarah Malcolm
Betsy the maid …… Pat Stubbs
Gossiping ladies …… Lindsay Jacques, Sue Orchard
Lord Lyndhurst …… Grant Duckett
Queen Victoria …… Sandra Jacques
Prince Albert …… Grant Duckett
Lord Cecil …… Ted Shears
Lord Henry …… Andy Gutteridge
Mrs Gladstone …… Jill Edwards
Lady Sophie …… Sarah Malcolm
Lady Harriet …… Lindsay Jacques
Lucas the gardener …… Ted Shears
Dr Kydd …… Jim Harper
Footmen: …… Dave Bushrod, Cliff Denton, Steve Coles
Click a photo to start the slide show. After 15 seconds the next image appears. To hurry through, click the right-hand arrow midway down the screen.To pause a photo, click the left-hand icon showing at the bottom centre of the screen (it then turns into a right-facing arrow – click it when you want to continue.) To exit the show, simply click on the small X at the top right of the black surround.
Such was the great success of this huge production (no less than 27 actors) that ten years later we quite willingly put it on once again (dark mutterings of ‘masochists’ from some quarters . . .) where, for its second airing, it played not only to packed houses but Fred had quite an impressive waiting list.