Rumpy Pumpy – a musical comedy comes to the Landor Theatre
Rumpy Pumpy! is based on the true story of two nice ladies from the Hampshire WI, Jean Johnson and Shirley Landels, who set out on a campaign for the decriminalisation of prostitution and to improve conditions for working girls. As the conflicting worlds of Women’s Institute members and working girls collide for tea and crumpets, comedy and chaos ensues in this very British new musical comedy.
With 2015 marking the 100th Anniversary of the WI and their proud history of helping women, Rumpy Pumpy! addresses a somewhat controversial subject that remains a current talking point for many.
Jean Johnson and Shirley Landels are contacted by brash brothel Madame, Holly Spencer, who claims to have the ‘perfect brothel’ that they are looking for – a health and safety checked brothel that the police and town Councillors are aware of, ‘they’re our best customers’.
Travelling to Amsterdam and to the Bunny Farm Brothel in Nevada, Jean and Shirley are universally unimpressed by working conditions. When they finally do find the ‘perfect brothel’ in New Zealand, stripped of pimps, crime or Madames, they decide to head home and set up their own mobile brothel on the streets of Winchester to change people’s hearts and minds.
Writer and composer Barbara Jane Mackie was inspired by the story of their heroic campaign, one which took them around the world and which Jean Johnson is still fighting for to this day.
Barbara Jane Mackie comments: I spent time with several brothel Madames, meeting their working girls and hearing their stories. I realised that the story of these girls would intertwine powerfully with the story of the two WI ladies, as all of these women wanted the same thing: the decriminalisation of prostitution. RumpyPumpy! is my way of wrapping up a complex subject and creating something fun and frothy with a gritty edge.
Rumpy Pumpy! is set against the backdrop of recession, redundancy and social breakdown. This is an exuberant musical comedy for stressed, uncertain and increasingly lonely times.
Rumpy Pumpy! is part of the King’s Head Theatre’s ‘Without Décor’ writers season, offering bold writers a platform to develop their work.