A musical play. Book, music & lyrics by David Wood.
Commissioned by the Liverpool Playhouse company, the play was first performed under the title CHISH ‘N’ FIPS for Christmas 1980/81. The play was subsequently produced by Whirligig Theatre at Sadler’s Wells, London and on tour in the autumn of 1981, under the title THE IDEAL GNOME EXPEDITION. Since then the play has been seen in Antwerp and in several repertory productions including Bracknell and Wellingborough. It has become popular with amateur companies too
David Wood based a television series on the play, reverting to the original title, CHISH ‘N’ FIPS. This was well received on ITV, and a book version also appeared.
After rescuing a toy duck from the dustbin in their backyard, Mr. Fisher and Mr. Wheeler, two temporarily nomadic garden gnomes, decide to venture over the garden wall into the big wide world.
Their object is to find a holiday island, just like the ‘Big Ones’, but being unused to the hazards of the concrete jungle of the town, they almost don’t make it. Until they meet Chips, that is.
Chips is a very cool cat, and with his help the gnomes and Baby Duck survive several urban adventures before reaching their island in the sun. Although it is not quite as expected (a traffic island!), they all agree that it is the best holiday they have ever had. In the end, however, they return to their backyard, taking the homeless chips with them, and, happy and content, they agree that there’s no place like home!
David Wood writes: This play offered me opportunities to experiment with scale. The sets are pretty enormous, and the characters include a tar-whacking machine and a fierce Securidog in an Adventure Playground. The introduction of a road safety theme made the play particularly popular with school audiences, and the play became one of the most popular Whirligig Theatre productions, with two major UK tours.
The subsequent television series was a happy bonus!
The play has six characters, two of whom can be doubled.
“…worked like a charm … David Wood has surely scored again; his latest musical play for children is yet another gently entertaining excursion into a fantasy world where eminently sensible values prevail.”
“…a good lively story with colourful characters, loads of participation and a worthwhile message painlessly put over… by the time the gnomes get home, they have instilled in their young audience a few lessons on crossing the road safely, looking after pets, and how exciting life can be…
David Wood writes children’s plays of real quality.”
Bristol Evening Post
“… a truly original show … the kids loved every minute of it.” Daily Mail “David Wood knows exactly how to capture a child’s imagination and his production at the Gardner Centre, Sussex University, once again employs the technique of tiny imaginary characters against a ‘giant’ sized world.
It is a technique which appeals instantly to children.”
“… real young people’s entertainment, setting out to stimulate and hold the youngsters’ interest in exactly the same way as an adult show.” Oxford Mail “The young ones’ cries of delight fill the theatre; they all seem to get the message, leaving us with a warm glow.”
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. The play is included in David Wood : Plays One (Methuen) US Stock and Amateur Rights : Samuel French Inc.