The Water Babies

Louise Gold starred as: Irishwoman, Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid, and, Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby, at The Chichester Festival Theatre, Between 17 July to 31 August 2003 (previews from 11 July)

One member of the acting company, at least, had had some involvement with this show, prior to the actual production, as the leading lady herself puts it:

 “I did the demo of The Water Babies about three years. I think that these things usually take that long to get to the stage. It’s a long process, but we have got a really exciting creative team for it.” Louise Gold to Phil Hewitt, THE CHICHESTER OBSERVER, Thursday 24 April 2003, p43

In that interview, Louise goes on to explain how nearly everyone, including herself, thinks they remember the book, but how she has discovered it is actually quite a tough Christian fairy story about redemption and love, which Tom learns about when sent on a journey. She concludes (as only she can)

 “But it is also good fun. There is a lot of scope for humour with the animals. There are a lot of bizarre things that happen to him” Louise Gold to Phil Hewitt, THE CHICHESTER OBSERVER, Thursday 24 April 2003, p43


Cast (in order of appearance)

 Tom, a sweep’s boy - Neil McDermott

Grimes, Tom’s Master - Joe McGann

Irishwoman - Louise Gold

George, a footman - Trevor Conner

Garth, a footman - Adam Tedder

Mary Jane, a maid - Alicia Davies

Mrs Drew, the housekeeper - Nicola Sloane

Mrs Bland, the cook - Natasha Bain

Maurice, the butler - Paul Leonard

Ellie - Katherine O’Shea

Miss Dennis, her governess - Fiona Dunn

Snail - Christian Patterson

Caddis Larva - Steven Fawell

Trout - Natasha Bain

Yellow Eel - Fiona Dunn

Frog - Steve Elias

Otter - Sasha Oakley

Water Babies

     Freddie- Trevor Conner

     Laura - Deborah Crowe

     Poppy - Alicia Davies

     Camilla - Fiona Dunn

     Gryff - Steve Elias

     Johnny - Kieran Hill

     Daisy - Jo Nesbitt

     Charlie - Benedict Quirke

     Bertie - Joe Shovelton

     Izzy - Nicola Sloane

     Tim - Adam Tedder

Lobster - Paul Leonard

Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid - Louise Gold

Vicar - Kieran Hill

Mother Grimes - Nicola Sloane

Grimes’ Master - Adam Tedder

Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby - Louise Gold

Three Cooks - Steve Elias, Joe Shovelton, and, Christian Patterson

Ice Babies, Tormentors, and, Souls - played by members of the company



Ice Babies - Steve Elias, Steven Fawell, Trevor Conner, Kieran Hill, Deborah Crowe, Jo Nesbitt, Natasha Bain, and, Fiona Dunn


Production Team

 Music & Lyrics by - Jason Carr

Book by - Gary Yershon

Based on “The Water-Babies” by Charles Kingsley

Original Production - 17 July 2003, The Chichester Festival Theatre, with Louise Gold as the Irishwoman, Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid & Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby

Director - Jeremy Sams

Designer - Robert Jones

Season Installation Designer - Alison Chitty

Lighting Designer - Howard Harrison

Choreographer - Jonathan Lunn

Sound Designer - Paul Arditti

Orchestrations - Jason Carr

Musical Director - Caroline Humphries

Assistant Director - Lucy Jameson


Please click here for a fairly full review/account of the show


Most of the cast (in fact everyone except Paul Leonard) also appeared in the Chichester Festival Theatre’s production of The Gondoliers  For which Jonathan Lunn was also the choreographer, Caroline Humphris a Musical Director and of course as both shows take place in Chichester’s main house, Alison Chitty was Season Installation Designer for both shows

As The Water Babies was presented in repertory (with: The Merchant Of Venice, The Gondoliers, and, The Seagull) the actual dates of the performances were:

Previews on July: 11 at 7:30, 12 at 2:00 & 7:30, 14 at 7:30, 15 at 7:30, 16 at 7:30, 16 at 7:30, 17 at 2:00

Opening Night: Thursday 17 July 7:30


July:          17 at 7:30, 18 at 7:30, 19 at 2:00 & 7:30, 21 at 7:30, 22 at 7:30, 23 at 7:30, 24 at 2:00 & 7:30, 25 at 7:30, 26 at 2:00 & 7:30

August:     10 at 4:00, 12 at 7:30, 13 at 2:00 & 7:30, 14 at 2:00 & 7:30, 16 at 2:00, 19 at 7:30, 20 at 2:00 & 7:30, 21 at 2:00 & 7:30, 24 at 4:00, 26 at 7:30, 27 at 2:00 & 7:30, 28 at 2:00 & 7:30, 30 at 2:00 & 7:30, and 31 at 4:00.

Pre show talk on 15 July at 5:30

Post Show Discussion 23 July


This musical had originally been the inspiration of one of The Chichester Festival Theatre’s Artistic Directors, Steven Pimlott, who had originally tried to get the RSC to commission it. It might be noted that over the years Mr Pimlott hired Jason Carr to write incidental music for at least 15 plays (including 10 for the RSC and four at Chichester).

Towards the end of the season Trevor Conner, Deborah Crowe, Fiona Dunn, Steve Elias, Steven Fawell, Louise Gold, Paul Leonard, Jo Nesbitt, Katherine O’Shea, Sasha Oakley, Christian Patterson, Benedict Quirke, Joe Shovelton, and, Nicola Sloane; along with Jason Carr, and, Lucy Jameson, plus Steven Pimlott took part in the Final Chic Cabaret 2003.

Louise Gold and Alicia Davies ended their work on 2003’s Chichester festival season by appearing in a fundraising show Curtain Up at Chichester’s Minerva Theatre

Having been one of Chichester’s 2003 season’s stars, Louise Gold returned to The Chichester Festival Theatre in December 2003 to co-host the Christmas Concerts 2003

Louise Gold and Jason Carr previously worked together at The Chichester Festival Theatre in Noel/Cole Let’s Do it.

Louise Gold and Jason Carr have also been involved with: Chicago & Company, Broadway To Brighton, A Time To Start Living, Oh Kay , 110 In The Shade, One Touch Of Venus (2000 Production), A Lost Musicals Occasion, and Dead By 12 (in which Louise sang a song from The Water Babies), Louise Gold’s cabaret act LOUISE GOLD...By Appointment (where in later versions of which Louise has sung one of the songs from The Water Babies), and Jason Carr’s cabaret act Somethin’ Good (where Louise also sang one of the songs from The Water Babies).

Louise Gold and Jason Carr’s work together is featured on the albums: Noel/Cole: Let’s Do It, and, Defiant Dames.

The date of the first preview for The Water Babies, was, by coincidence, 26 years to the day since Leading Lady Louise Gold started working for The Muppets.

Alicia Davies, Fiona Dunn and Louise Gold have previously appeared in The Regent’s Park 70th Anniversary Gala. Alicia Davies was a member of the cast of their production of Oh What A Lovely War, Fiona Dunn was in their production of The Pirates Of Penzance, and Louise Gold was in their production of The Boys From Syracuse.

Louise Gold and Fiona Dunn had previously appeared together in Of Thee I Sing

Louise Gold and Paul Leonard had previously appeared together in The Pirates Of Penzance (Stage Show), and as members of that company in The Pirates Of Penzance (Gala Performance), The Pirates Of Penzance (Gala Preview), The Pirates Of Penzance (Benefit Preview), and, The Royal Variety Performance (1982)

 Librettist Gary Yershon was the Musical Director for Topsy Turvy and it’s soundtrack album Topsy Turvy (Soundtrack)

Director Jeremy Sams was the musical director of that notable production of Assassins that Louise Gold appeared in.

Howard Harrison was also the lighting designer for Mamma Mia, and, Mary Poppins.

Louise Gold has also previously appeared at The Chichester Festival Theatre in an RSC touring production of The Cherry Orchard. She went on to appear at Chichester in Gypsy (playing Mazeppa).

Coincidentally Louise Gold is not the only member of her theatrically-oriented family to have played Chichester, twenty four years ago her mother (who coincidentally according to one resume actually met Shaw over half a century earlier) appeared in George Bernard Shaw’s The Devil’s Disciple, and George S Kaufman & Moss Hart’s The Man Who Came To Dinner in Chichester’s 1979 season.

Louise Gold has gone on to appear in Noises Off also under the direction of Jeremy Sams, with design by Robert Jones; and the stage adaptation of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which Jeremy Sams adapted for the stage.

Louise Gold’s work on The Water Babies got mentioned when she and Jason Carr guested on Dead By 12.

Joe McGann had previously taken part in Thing A Thon, which Jason Carr, and, Caroline Humphries may also have contributed to.

Louise Gold, and, Christian Patterson went on to appear together in Oliver!


It should perhaps be noted that Nick Curtis writing in The Evening Standard managed to muddle up two of Louise Gold’s three characters. One might also note that Michael Coveney seems for him to be unusually brief and unwitty, while Jeremy Kingston has given it, what is for him, an usually poor review (though he is fairly complimentary, as usual, about the leading lady).

Critics Comments

  “Louise Gold as a collection of characters is commanding and has a fine voice.” Gareth Carr, INTERNET THEATREWORLD MAGAZINE

 “The mysterious Irishwoman is played by the sumptuous Louise Gold, who then breaks loose as Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid (in frozen ringlets) and Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby (a platinum blond in pink chiffon, dispensing cuddles).” Michael Coveney, THE DAILY MAIL, 25 July 2003

 “Playing the moral poles of Kingsley’s universe, Louise Gold is good as a prescriptive Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby modelled on Anne Robinson, and quite brilliant as a bountifully loving Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid, blending the figure of Marilyn Monroe with the manner of Celia Johnson.” Nick Curtis, THE EVENING STANDARD, 18 July 2003

 “Louise Gold shows her versatility and strong vocals in three roles - the soothsaying Irishwoman, Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid, the ugliest fairy in the world and her opposite number Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby, a Barbara Cartland-style vision in pink whose mission is to dispense love wherever she goes.” Lynn Daly, This Is Brighton And Hove

 “Louise Gold, as both fairy godmothers, shows us what an undiscovered star she is. With her tongue firmly in her cheek she has radioactive charm.” Simon Fanshawe, THE MAIL ON SUNDAY, Sunday 27 July 2003

 “It is at it’s most enjoyable when in the latter (camp) mode, particularly in the pinkly polished performance of Louise Gold as the world’s most beautiful fairy who knows that “love is a necessity whatever the weather” and offers motherly hugs to Tom on his dreadful journey.” Lyn Gardner, THE GUARDIAN, Monday 21 July 2003, p18

 “But the star of the show is undoubtedly the superb Louise Gold, as the severe Mrs. Bedonebyasyoudid, and her ultra camp sister (in billowing pink taffeta), Mrs.Doasyouwouldbedoneby, in what seemed to me to be a delicious homage to Chicago's Mary Sunshine.” Stephen Gilcrest, WHATSONESTAGE,COM, 21 July 2003

 “When it comes to comic loving kindness, though, you can’t beat Louise Gold. She is excellent as stern Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid, but where she really comes into her own, quite magnificently, is as benevolent Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby - a radiant blonde in a pink cocktail dress, her perpetual smile and genteel tones never quite disguising the bossiness underneath.” John Gross, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH, 20 July 2003

 “Louise Gold as both Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid and Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby, relishes turning the latter into a Broadway belle.” Robert Hewison, SUNDAY TIMES, 27 July 2003

 “Louise Gold is terrific as Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid, the benevolent underwater tyrant condemned to be the ‘ugliest fairy in the world until people behave as they should’. Gold later trumps herself with a wonderful portrayl of a Hollywood-glam sweetly-smilling love-and-goodness dispensing Mrs Doasyouwouldedoneby.” Phil Hewitt, THE CHICHESTER OBSERVER, Thursday 24 July 2003, p41 & THE WEST SUSSEX GAZETTE, Thursday 7 August 2003, p10.

 “If Louise Gold was underused in The Gondoliers, this production put things to right by giving her the chance to show her versatility with three roles to play - a mystic Irish woman: a severe looking Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid and her opposite number, Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby, all goodness and love.” Barrie Jerram, MUSICAL STAGES, Issue 39 Autumn 2003, p29

 “Louise Gold kitted out as the Good Witch Glenda from Oz is expertly amusing as lovely Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby, but the absurdity of her kindly little act fits ill with the moral structures of the rest.” Jeremy Kingston, THE TIMES, 19 July 2003

 “All misgivings are put to one side though when, near the end, Louise Gold emerges as ‘the loveliest fairy in the world’. A saccharine-sweet blond-wigged vision in pink, with tongue firmly placed in cheek, she sashays her way through a number mocking all the ‘doing to others as you would be done by’ stuff that had gone before.” John Martland, THE STAGE, 24 July 2003, P10

 “Consequently, Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid appears as a pointy-haired Victorian schoolmarm with her conduct ledger, whilst her fairy sister Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby (both played by Louise Gold) has the crisp vowels and formal gowns of Auntie Muriel from early BBC children's TV.” Ian Shuttleworth, Written for THE FINANCIAL TIMES

 “There's also tremendous work from Louise Gold, who plays not only the mysterious Irishwoman, with her gnomic pronouncement: "Those that wish to be clean, clean they will be; and those that wish to be foul, foul they will be", but is also wonderfully charismatic as both the strict, governessy Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid and the preposterously sweet and plummy Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby, dressed as if for a visit to the Queen's garden party in the 1950s.” Charles Spencer, DAILY TELEGRAPH, 18 July 2003

 The excellent Louise Gold proves a big asset where unifying the proceedings is concerned. She turns up in a trio of roles: as the mysterious Irishwoman; as the starchy, mark-book-keeping fairy Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid; and as her ludicrously syrupy alter ego, Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby, who here swirls on, in a blaze of pink and peroxide, like some Technicolor blonde from a Fifties MGM musical. The latter's simpering song of self-satisfaction at her own global philanthropy ("When a typhoon destroys Tahiti/ I dispense a kiss and a sweetie") is a delicious antidote to little Ellie's soulful warblings Paul Taylor, THE INDEPENDENT, 23 July 2003

 “But it seems that this version shows all the necessary moments with a bit of moralising and lots of fun (especially the water babies on their scooters, which made me laugh tears, and the deliciously comic and charismatic Louise Gold doing the fairies). Jeremy Sams keeps the action flowing, though the beginning lacks period spirit and a kind of ‘Sweeney Todd’ kitchen scene is far too gruesome for the little ones.” Verena Winter, THEATRE RECORD, 2003 Issue 15


Links about The Water Babies

 Chichester Festival Theatre: See in particular: for production details, for reviews of the production and for pictures from the production. Also see: for ensemble resumes.

Composer Jason Carr’s Website, includes a brilliant slide show of photographs from ‘The Water Babies’ (which doesn’t take too terribly long to download). Also includes an audio clip of the song ‘Children In The Storm’ (which may take a while to download depending on the speed of your connections - but is well worth persevering with): page about this production:  and see in particular review, by Stephen Gilcrest, on:

The Daily Telegraph, review and a lovely photograph of Neil McDermott, Louise Gold, and Katherine O’Shea:

The Independent, review by Paul Taylor:

This is Brighton And Hove, review by Lynn Daly:

The Guardian, review by Lyn Gardner:,1169,1002480,00.html

Ian Shuttleworth’s review, written for The Financial Times:

Theatre World Internet Magazine, reviews for The Gondoliers and The Water Babies:

Theatre Record: Opposite Prompt:

21st Century Musicals page for The Water Babies (please note, this seemed to be under construction last time I checked it):

A review by Emma Shane of another Jason Carr musical at Chichester, Six Pictures Of Lee Miller, it may provide an interesting comparison with the review of The Water Babies on this website:

A review by Emma Shane of another Jason Carr musical at Chichester, A Christmas Carol,


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