Pacific 1860Pacific 1860

First presented by Prince Littler on behalf of theTheatre Royal Drudy Lane Ltd. at the Theatre Royal in London on 19 December 1946 and was the first post-war production by Coward. The show was not a success and ran for only four months, closing on 12 April 1947 (129 performances).

Noël had hoped that this lavish piece of escapism would score a hit with a war-weary public. It has been described as 'Bitter Sweet in a tropical setting'. Mary Martin was the lead, with Graham Payn and Maidie Andrews, Sylvia Cecil and Winifred Ingram. The play ran for four months when Littler suddenly gave two weeks notice for its closure. The whole venture had placed a huge strain on Noël himself, Grahm Payn who was acting beyond his range and Marty Martin who had become fractious and argumentative in rehearsal and in a state of permanent feud with Gladys Calthrop, Noël's long time friend and the show's creative designer.

The musical play originally featured two risque songs that Coward used extensively in his cabaret act; 'Uncle Harry' (removed before production but later brought back) and 'Alice Is At It Again' (removed and not used in the production). The score with 'Uncle Harry' and if you include Alice Is At It Again (intended for the show but never used), contains some of Coward's best post-war work with the poignant 'I Saw No Shadow on the Sea'

The day after the first night Noël writes: "The blackest and beastliest day of the year. To begin with a blast of abuse from the press. Not one good notice, the majority being frankly vile. I don't usually mind but I am overtired."


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Pacific 1860

The story is set in the fictional Pacific British Colony of Samola (Samola was the original title) during the reign of Queen Victoria in the 1860s. It involves a visiting operatic Prima Donna and her conflict between love and career. Graham Payn was her love interest Kerry Stirling. Snobbishness became the main language of the plot led by the island's colonial establishment.







Family Grace
If I were a Man
Dear Madame Salvador
Hy Horse Has Cast a Shoe
I Wish I Wasn't Quite Such a Big Girl
Samolan Song (Ka Tahua)
Bright was the Day
Invitation to the Waltz
His Excellency Regrets
The Party's Going with a Swing
Birthday Toast
Make Way for Their Excellencies

One Two Three
This is a Night for Lovers
I Never Knew
This is a Changing World
Come Back to the Island
Gipsy Melody
This is the Night
Mother's Lament
Pretty Little Bridesmaids
I Saw No Shadow
Wedding Toast
Uncle Harry


Pacific 1860 CD: Box Office ENBO-CD#8/93 (*titles also on CD Sepia 1043)

His Excellency Regrets (Cast)
If I Were a Man (The Daughters)
Uncle Harry (Graham Payn)
*Dear Madame Salvador (Graham Payn)
My Horse Has Cast a Shoe (Mary Martin)
Bright Was the Day (Mary Martin & Graham Payn)
*One, Two, Three (Mary Martin)
I Never Knew (Mary Martin)
I Saw No Shadow (Mary Martin)
Invitation to the Waltz (Daughters and Male Sextet)
I Wish I Wasn't Such a Big Girl (Daphne Anderson and the Daughters)
Pretty Little Bridesmaids (The Daughters)
Mothers' Lament (Rose Hignell, Maidie Andrews, Gwen Bateman)
This Is a changing World (Sylvia Cecil)
*Fumfumbolo (Graham Payn)
This Is a Night for Lovers (Sylvia Cecil, Maris Pirelli, Winefride Ingham)
Toast Music/Finale (Mary Martin & Graham Payn)
All Drury Lane Orch. cond. Mantovani [December 1946].


The Times said: "This mild romance with its abundance of easy theatrical sentiment so gracefully expressed has precisely the same climate, and there are moments, as one pretty song succeeds another, when we rather hanker after a tropical storm."

"Miss Mary Martin sings the heroine with much assurance and charm, and Mr Graham Payn is fully equal to the demands made on her 'opposite number'."

The Manchester Guardian thought the first act fell "entirely flat" and judged the whole show old-fashioned, but praised the cast and the production.

The Observer: "This operetta is an orgy of good taste, and people who are nervous of that quality may be comforted by knowing that there is plenty of honest dullness in the very conventional plot."

Mary Martin was the lead, with Graham Payn and Maidie Andrews, Sylvia Cecil and Winifred Ingram heading a large cast.

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