Based on the Peter Sellers/Margaret Rutherford film, The Smallest Show on Earth tells the story of young and upcoming British screenwriter Matt Spenser and his newly married wife Jean. Despite the surprise success of Matt’s first film ‘Crisis in Camberley’ Matt and Jean are very short of money. They are pinning their hopes of financial stability on Matt’s sequel ‘Crisis in Cairo’, and are nervously awaiting the script approval of the film’s star Lance Duke.
But when a solicitor’s letter arrives informing Matt he has inherited from his Uncle Simon the ownership of a cinema in Sloughborough, the couple, unaware of the true nature of their good fortune, immediately set off to see their new ‘gold-mine’.
Even before the local solicitor Robin Carter can introduce Matt and Jean to the Bijou and its staff, they are confronted by Albert and Ethel Hardcastle, the owners of the rival cinema in Sloughborough – The Grand. Robin hopes the Hardcastles will make Matt and Jean a good offer to purchase the Bijou, but instead they make a derisory one. Albert’s daughter Marlene is suspicious of her stepmother Ethel’s intentions.
Matt is convinced fate is on their side – ‘I’m a screenwriter who has inherited a cinema’ – and persuades Jean they must revitalise the Bijou. Only then will the Hardcastles make them a proper offer. Once inside the Bijou, Matt and Jean discover the enormity of their task. Not only is the place extremely run-down, with very low audience numbers, Mr Quill, the projectionist and Mrs Fazackalee, the cashier, are at loggerheads. Mrs Fazackalee blames the hard-drinking Quill for the death of her beloved Simon. Her son Tom Fazackalee is too shy to stop their squabbling.
But Matt and Jean convince the trio that with a good make-over the future can be bright, and with Robin’s help they set about the refurbishment. The Hardcastles are surprised to receive an invitation to the Grand Re-Opening of the Bijou, and decide they must sabotage it. To her horror, Marlene discovers that her step-mother’s plan is to acquire the Bijou cheaply and then demolish it, to make way for a new car park for the patrons of The Grand. Marlene storms out.
The disaster is made worse when Matt is called away to the set of ‘Crisis in Cairo’ at Shepperton Studios – Lance Duke will not approve Matt’s script. Jean begs him to stay, but Matt now believes their only chance of financial survival is to save his film. Jean is heartbroken, but her sorrow turns to anger when Marlene reveals that the reason no-one attended the Grand Re-Opening was because Ethel Hardcastle bribed the local newspaper, The Sloughborough Echo, to print a Cancellation.
Jean and Mrs Fazackalee rally their troops and decide they will bring back the tradition of live musical entertainment during their films’ intermissions. To their surprise they are joined by Marlene, whose blossoming relationship with Tom has led her to sever her links with her father and step-mother, and also Robin Carter who admits to a fascination with a career in show-biz. Mr Quill announces, in the best interests of The Bijou’s future, he will never drink again.
But the course to success for the Bijou is not plain sailing, as the Hardcastles try one trick after another to bring down the new palace of entertainment.
Can the Bijou be re-born? Will Matt and Jean’s marriage survive? Who struck the match that lit the inferno that lights up the Sloughborough night sky? Will ‘Crisis in Cairo’ ever make it to the screen? Or will Matt’s new screenplay ‘The Smallest Show on Earth’ win all the BAFTAs?
Come and see this new fun-filled musical and find out