Kisses on a Postcard, a thrilling World War Two musical by the late Terence Frisby has been released as an audio production.
This epic 4-hour production was recorded posthumously at Abbey Road Studios with a 15-piece orchestra and a cast of over 50, led by West End musical theatre stars John Owen Jones (Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera) and Katy Secombe (Les Miserables), double Olivier award winner Marcia Warren (The Crown)’, Rosie Cavaliero (Wurzel Gummidge), Evelyn Hoskins (Waitress) and including Lance Ellington, one of the amazing vocalists from Strictly Come Dancing, and soloist Simon Thomas (The Phantom of the Opera).
Kisses on a Postcard is autobiographical story of the late playwright Terence Frisby’s childhood as an evacuee in WW2. The new musical is an intensely moving portrait of an extraordinary episode in British history; packed with memorable songs, danger and humour the musical is set in 1940s war torn Britain and follows the incredible adventure of two London evacuees sent to Cornwall.
Terence Frisby’s most famous play, There’s a Girl in My Soup, opened in 1966 and ran for over 6 years to become the then longest-running comedy in the history of the West End. It was a worldwide hit including runs on Broadway and Paris (starring Gérard Depardieu). His script for the 1970 film, which starred Peter Sellers and Goldie Hawn, won the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Award for the Best British Comedy Screenplay. His sitcom ‘Lucky Feller’, starring David Jason as one of two working-class brothers living in a council flat in south-east London was one ITV’s most successful sitcoms of the 1970s, and, another of his sitcoms, ‘That’s Love’, would become one of ITV’s most successful sitcoms of the 1980s. ‘Kisses’ is based on his award-winning BBC radio play ‘Just Remember Two Things: It’s Not Fair and Don’t Be Late’, which was broadcast 10 times.
Kisses On A Postcard is adapted, directed and produced by Dominic Frisby with music by Martin Wheatley, Gordon Clyde and others; lyrics by Dominic Frisby, Gordon Clyde and others; and arranged and conducted by Martin Wheatley, except for ‘Got Any Gum, Chum?’ and ‘GI Bride’, which were conducted by Lola Frisby Williams.
Dominic Frisby said: “This is an intensely moving musical about an extraordinary time in British history. Those who were evacuated in 1940 will be in their late 80s and 90s now, if they are still with us at all. In many ways ‘Kisses on a Postcard’ is a farewell to that generation. But I played it to some friends in the car last month, and during the evacuation scenes they all said, “that’s exactly what’s happening now in Ukraine.” The story remains so pertinent. Dad said he used to get letters from people in Germany who had been evacuated to escape Allied bombs. If you are anything like me, this story will disarm you in the most unexpected ways. I hope you will find yourself laughing and weeping, as I did, at just what wonderful things the kindest of human beings can be.”
Part 1 is freely available as a podcast:
Kisses on a Postcard – a 30-year journey
April 16, 1988: 1st BBC Radio broadcast of ‘Just Remember Two Things: It’s Not Fair And Don’t Be Late,’ a series of reminiscences about Terence Frisby’s experiences as a vacky in WWII. It received the biggest audience response that anyone in the BBC Radio Drama department could remember and is broadcast 10 times, creating a record. It wins the Giles Cooper Award for Best Radio Play and is mentioned critically in the same breath as ‘Under Milk Wood’ and ‘Cider With Rosie’.
It was then optioned to be a film (including by among others director Ken Loach), but it gets stuck in development hell for 15 years, and the film is never made.
2003: A stage musical version is produced at the Queen’s Theatre Barnstaple. Half the cast are amateurs. At this point it is called:’ Just Remember Two Things’. Music by Gordon Clyde. Directed by Jeremy James Taylor, OBE, of National Youth Music Theatre. A failed attempt is made to raise £3million needed to bring it to the West End.
2010: Bloomsbury publishes ‘Kisses on a Postcard’, the book version of the same story.
2012: There is another stage production in Barnstaple. The musical is now called ‘Kisses on a Postcard’. Charles Spencer, #1 Theatre Critic of ‘The Daily Telegraph’ describes it as “outstanding”, but West End producers don’t come, despite his urging.
April 20, 2020: Terence Frisby dies.
2020-21: Dominic Frisby, his son, adapts the show for audio. He writes new songs together with Martin Wheatley, whose father was also evacuated from London to Cornwall.
June-July 2021: The show is recorded at Abbey Road Studios and elsewhere.
June 2022: ‘Kisses on a Postcard’ is released on all audio platforms.