Original London Cast

The Boys from Syracuse [Original London Cast]

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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann

It took London 25 years to get its first production of Rodgers & Hart's The Boys From Syracuse, a musical version of Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors, itself adapted from Plautus. The original Broadway version opened on November 23, 1938, and ran for more than six months (which was good in those days). The West End version followed on November 7, 1963, and ran less than half as long. But it did produce a cast album, which the original had not. (Of course, there were no cast albums in those days.) British comedian Bob Monkhouse starred as Antipholus of Syracuse, one of two separated twins who also have twin servants, leading to all sorts of shenanigans. That allowed Monkhouse to sing "This Can't Be Love" with Paula Hendrix, one of the show's better remembered songs. The other standard was "Falling in Love With Love," here handled by Lynn Kennington as Adriana, wife of the other Antipholus, who mistakes one for the other. But the standout performer is loud-mouthed Australian Maggie Fitzgibbon, an actress with a bellowing voice just right for the comic numbers "What Can You Do With a Man?" and "He and She." The British accents that intrude here and there (it's "This cahhn't be love" and "You have cahhst your shadow on the sea" in this version) aren't really a problem since the whole thing is supposedly set in ancient Greece anyway, and the cast has a good sense of Rodgers & Hart's comic froth, making this an excellent rendition of a score that holds up well. [The 2002 reissue, anticipating a Broadway revival, adds the six songs from a 1939 Rudy Vallée/Frances Langford album originally released to exploit the original production. They handle the material well, and it's good to have these performances back in print.]

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
The Boys from Syracuse, musical
1 02:27 Amazon
2 Ingram Marshall 05:01 Amazon
3 Ronnie Corbett / Bob Monkhouse 02:33 Amazon
4 Sonny Farrar / Maggie Fitzgibbon 03:02 Amazon
5 Lynn Kennington 03:45 Amazon
6 Denis Quilley 02:44 Amazon
7 Paula Hendrix / Bob Monkhouse 04:04 Amazon
8 Ingram Marshall 03:07 Amazon
9 Ronnie Corbett / Maggie Fitzgibbon 04:04 Amazon
10 Paula Hendrix / Bob Monkhouse 03:22 Amazon
11 Adam Deane / Ingram Marshall / Denis Quilley 02:56 Amazon
12 Maggie Fitzgibbon / Paula Hendrix / Lynn Kennington 03:29 Amazon
13 Pat Turner 02:37 Amazon
14 Boys From Syracuse Cast Ensemble 01:05 Amazon
15 Rudy Vallée 02:44 Amazon
16 Rudy Vallée 02:48 Amazon
17 Frances Langford 03:02 Amazon
18 Frances Langford 02:42 Amazon
19 Frances Langford / Rudy Vallée 03:06 Amazon
20 Frances Langford / Rudy Vallée 02:55 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick