World War II has just ended and belts are being tightened as the country’s long-suffering citizens try to survive Austerity Britain.
Despite the call for Fair Shares for all, some local officials are feathering their own nests by taking far more than their own fair share.
It is of course 1947 and having won the war Britain seems to have lost the peace, and the country is staggering under the burden of acute food rationing and unemployment. The only bright spark on the horizon is the impending marriage of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phillip.
Twenty six years ago Alan Bennett and Malcolm Mowbray wove this story into a hilariously funny but sharply observed comic film called A Private Function, which centred around Betty, an adorable pig, who is being illegally reared to ensure the local dignitaries can celebrate the Royal Wedding with a lavish banquet while the local population make do with Spam.
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman have brilliantly adapted and expanded this story for the stage and George Stiles and Anthony Drewe have written an infectious, toe-tapping, contemporary score.
The result is a wonderful musical, full of eccentric characters, such as the strange odd couple, Gilbert – a struggling chiropodist, and Joyce – a nobody determined to be somebody; Inspector Wormold - an obsessive destroyer of illegal meat and Mother Dear – ‘She’s seventy four and ravenous’; along with an assortment of everyday folk you’d expect to find in any small town, and of course, our star, Betty the pig.