A musical play. Book, music & lyrics by David Wood.
FLIBBERTY AND THE PENGUIN was first presented by the Worcester Repertory Company for Christmas 1971/2 at the Swan Theatre, Worcester.
The play has become popular with amateur companies, and one speech is often used by children in Speech and Drama exams.
In 1978 the play was toured by WSG Productions Limited, as a pilot tour for David Wood’s touring children’s theatre company, which was launched under the name Whirligig Theatre the following year.
There have been several successful productions in Finland. Young Penguin has come from Iceland to find his Mother and Father. This must be done before the spring weather becomes too warm.
He falls in with Flibberty, a genial goblin, who helps him in his search. They incur the wrath of Krafty Kingfisher, who accuses the Penguin of stealing a fish from him.
On their journey the two meet, among others, two Silly Cuckoos busy practising their spring song, a helpful Bus Driver/Conductor, and the famous Mr. Maestro who has come to town to conduct a concert (he can only understand singing, not talking).
Eventually the parent penguins are discovered in the zoo. Flibberty and Young Penguin manage to set them free, and to put Krafty Kingfisher in their place.
Everything ends well, even for Kingfisher, as all the characters gather in the Concert Hall to join (with the audience) in a song to spring.
David Wood writes: I have always thought this play was somewhat underrated! Influenced by Feydeau, I tried to introduce several different themes and make them all converge in a series of funny confrontations. I still like this play, even though I haven’t seen a production for many years! Characters like the Three-Headed Knowall, the Silly Cuckoos, Mr. Maestro and his assistant, Master Ministrone are among my favourite creations.
The original production employed twelve actors. Some of the roles can be played by male or female performers. There is some doubling.
“…ideal entertainment for children of all ages with a strong emphasis on audience participation… pleasing songs …
delightful characters… “It’s been exciting, hasn’t it?” asks one of the characters towards the end of the play.
The affirmative reply from the young audience almost took the roof off the top of the theatre… thoroughly entertaining.”
Birmingham Evening Mail
“… much inventiveness …
at one point there is one of the most sustained chases I have ever seen of each other by most of the characters, resulting in a furious frenzy of audience participation… very catchy songs.”
“The children, like me, were entranced by the closing transformation scene on the first day of spring. This is breathtakingly beautiful and also strangely moving.” Thurrock Gazette “…So perfectly did the audience react … that one might have thought their responses were part of the script”.
The play and piano/vocal score are published by Samuel French Ltd. First Class Professional & Foreign Rights : Casarotto Ramsay Ltd. UK Repertory Rights : Samuel French Ltd. UK Amateur Rights : Samuel French Ltd. US Stock and Amateur Rights: Samuel French Inc.