2013 – The Fizz

Commissioned by W11 Opera in 2013


Synopsis: Why is The Fizz, the bizz? Randall’s Replenishing Fizz has been made to the same recipe for generations. But what’s the secret ingredient that makes this much-loved cold drink such a hot commodity? And will the Randall family prevent their famous product from being guzzled up by the ruthless Prufrock Corporation? Lots of you came along to have your tastebuds tickled by this sweet, bubbly and quenching new opera. A toothsome treat for all the family, brought to you by W11 Opera for Young People.

Composer Martin Ward  The Fizz
Librettist Phil Porter
Music Director Philip Sunderland

Soloists

Petunia Randall, 111 year old Soft Drinks Visionary; Penny & Portia Randall, her granddaughters; Doctor Picklepuss; Melanie Varnish, Head of Security; Nina Huckerby, Chief Administrator; Solicitors: Hatty Maplin, Vivienne Marks, Zara Popinjay; January Snuffle, Head Mixer; Ferdy Fothergill, Head Bottler; Lolly Plunket, Senior Bottler; Vernon Prufrock Senior, Mogul; Vernon Prufrock Junior, Son of Mogul; Advisors: Trudy Latecomer, Abigail Yesman, Kylie Bugbear, Katrina Swift; Experts, Lolo Californium, Harriet Humperschnoozle; Duke & Duchess of Cambridge; Radio Commentators, Franny Furlong & Tania Bridleway.

Groups

Factory workforce, cleaners, security guards, administrators, mixers, bottlers. Legal team. Prufrock advisors, team of experts and hyper-efficient workforce. Group of public figures, gamblers in the sky, jockeys.  

Orchestra

Violin,  Flute/Piccolo, Clarinet/Bass Clarinet, Trumpet, Trombone, Harp, Double Bass, Percussion

 

Plot

SCENE 1: We witness a day to remember at Randall’s soft drinks factory

Cleaners and Security Guards, led by Melanie Varnish, tell us about their work and are joined by Mixers and Bottlers. The workforce is proud to produce Randall’s Replenishing Fizz in the topsy-turvy factory. Nina Huckerby and the other Administrators quiet them and invite 111-year-old Petunia Randall to commemorate the company’s 100th anniversary. She says she invented the recipe using childish intuition, raises a toast and (confirmed by Dr Picklepuss) drops down dead.

SCENE 2: We eavesdrop a board meeting at the Prufrock corporation

Splenetic soft drinks mogul Vernon Prufrock Senior confers with his cowering Advisors. Trudy Latecomer lives up to her name and is fired on the spot. Abigail Yesman and Kylie Bugbear present sales figures, but Prufrock is insatiable. He snaffles up the suggestion to bid for Randall’s and agrees that handsome-but-ineffectual Vernon Prufrock Junior should be sent to soften up the company’s image and the Randall heiresses.

SCENE 3: We attend the reading of Petunia Randall’s will

Nina and crew settle the crowd and tee up solicitors Hatty Maplin, Vivienne Marks, Zara Popinjay and their Legal Team to read the will. A hat is left to Lolly Plunkett; sardine cans to Ferdy Fothergill; drums to Nina; a miscellany to January Snuffle. The company is left to Petunia’s grand-daughters Penny and Portia Randall, who vow to keep it “at heart a home”. Prufrock Jnr offers condolences and makes an offer for the firm, with assurances that the family tradition will remain. Penny and Portia reject him because of the Prufrock Corporation’s reputation.

SCENE 4: We discover that Prufrock is on course to buy Randall’s

Prufrock is on the fairway with his advisors and golf coach Katrina Swift when news breaks that his son failed to butter up the Randall girls. Portia arrives with the solicitors to offer a deal. Maplin, Marks and Popinjay confirm she has the rights, and Portia explains that the ‘secret ingredient’ was just a marketing concept. She asks Prufrock to retain the current workforce and, after consulting Katrina, he agrees.

SCENE 5: We observe the robotic workforce marching in

Penny finds Prufrock Jnr moping, so she gives him a peanut butter pickled herring sandwich and a tour of the factory. They mix with the Mixers, Administrators and Bottlers. Everything is done by hand, and young Vernon loves it. But the mood changes when big Vernon arrives with his Advisors to re-engineer sack the workforce, replacing them with a Hyper-Efficient Workforce who set to work robotically. Penny is dismayed that Prufrock reneged on his promise.

SCENE 6: We learn that something’s not right with The Fizz

The Fizz has been long-loved by the Fizz-loving Public, but they find something wrong with the taste and smell of the new batch. The Public bow when Wills and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, arrive in need of their customary fix. But they too are disgusted and decide to switch to water. Prufrock Senior and his Advisors conclude that there is a missing secret ingredient; they give Portia 24 hours to find it to avoid a ghastly fate. Prufrock Junior is also bawled at: he too must join the quest.

SCENE 7: We wonder who will reveal the secret ingredient?

In adjoining rooms, Prufrock Junior is huddled with a Team of Experts and Penny has assembled the old workforce including January and Ferdy. The Experts analyse samples and Harriet Humperschnoozle diagnoses that X is missing. But what is X? The workforce is offered a bonus to divulge the secret. To Penny’s horror, they vote unanimously to accept the cash. But nobody can agree what’s missing and it all gets messy. Meanwhile, Expert Lolo Californium thinks she’s cracked it, but her brew tastes toxic. Penny and young Vernon despair.

 SCENE 8: We find out another family secret

Penny and Prufrock Junior wish they weren’t divided by blood ties. He leaves and Portia
enters to mend fences, revealing she’s been hiding a family secret – their Grandmother’s huge gambling debts. Penny doesn’t believe it, but Petunia’s ghost chips in from a heavenly casino to verify, and the habit is confirmed by fellow Gamblers-in-the-Sky. Penny is told to look inside her heart for the secret ingredient.

SCENE 9: We learn the truth: TLC is the magic formula

The Hyper-Efficient Workforce is cranking out the bad brew, urged on by Prufrock Senior and the Advisors. They are pushed aside by the old workforce led by Penny who promises to reveal the secret. We learn that individual quirks and love and care give the drink its unique taste. Prufrock Senior rejects this as soppy hokum, but Experts declare the brew a return to form. Prufrock Jnr invites his father to value tenderness, but the mogul and Advisors are so disgusted that they wash their hands of Randall’s. Prufrock Jnr is left to canoodle with Penny, but the debts remain. Lolly Plunkett remembers the bequeathed hat contained a betting slip; Petunia had backed ‘Rattlesnake’ at 1000 to 1. Radio commentators Tania Bridleway and Franny Furlong describe the action. All are agog. The Jockeys race to and fro. Rattlesnake wins. Life at the factory resumes, traditionally. Melanie Varnish leads the chorus “Randall’s Replenishing Fizz. Who knows what the secret is?” We all do.

 

Gallery