When Jean Johnson and Shirley Landels, two brave ladies from the Hampshire Women’s Institute, decide to campaign for the decriminalisation of prostitution and to improve conditions for Working Girls everywhere, brothel madame, Holly Spencer, gets in touch. She has the perfect brothel these ladies could be looking for! Holly quips: ‘You ladies make the tea and we’ll bring the crumpets!’ As the two conflicting worlds collide, comedy and chaos ensue in this very British comedy musical.
A true story, Rumpy! Pumpy!, with book, music and lyrics by Barbara Jane Mackie, starring Linda Nolan (The Nolans, Mrs Johnstone, Blood Brothers) and Louise Jameson (EastEnders, Doc Martin, The Mousetrap, 60th Anniversary UK tour), directed by Simon Grieff (Associate Director on The Rocky Horror Show Live), will play London’s Union Theatre from Monday 14 – Saturday 19 November. It will open at Windsor’s Theatre Royal, Tuesday 1 to Saturday 5 November.
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.
Mackie says: “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. Rumpy Pumpy! is my way of wrapping up a complex subject and creating something fun and frothy with a gritty edge.”
Other cast to be announced.
Take a look at what I thought of this show when it played at the Landor Theatre:
REVIEW: Rumpy Pumpy (Landor Theatre) ★