I died three times in this production, for which I stayed on at Chester. All the (unnamed) pirates I played met sticky ends. As far as the musical side of things was concerned, the production was a novelty for me, in that I was onstage singing someone else’s material. The songs were written by singer-songwriter Mervyn Stutter, who was also in the company. We’d worked together at the Duke’s Playhouse, Lancaster, in my final production there, Curse of the Werewolf. Although by no means a shy fellow, he was a self-taught musician, and didn’t feel confident about arranging his work for voices and instruments, so I took on that responsibility. It was a pleasure, because Mervyn’s work was so good. It had real swagger. My favourite song was called Don’t Be A Lubber, a rollicking waltz that set the scene at the Admiral Benbow Inn in Act One. Its memorable refrain was:
So it’s one dead one,
And two dead ones,
And three dead ones
And four dead ones;
Before the night was over and done,
There were thirteen dead on the floor.
Brilliant, the use of ‘dead ones’ to mean both empty bottles and the likely end of those in pursuit of Cap’n Flint’s treasure.