A circus clown named ‘Littlechap’ (Tony Tanner in a part which Anthony Newley – who co-created the musical – had made his own on the West End and Broadway stages) is trying out a new routine in front of the other members of a semi-improvisational musical theatre troupe.
Littlechap is an unpleasant, amoral, yet in some ways, endearing opportunist and the film follows his life through triumphs and tribulations from birth to manhood to seduction and marriage of the boss’s daughter, Evie (Millicent Martin) to promotion in the firm and a seat on the board.
He has a number of love affairs (all with women played by Millicent Martin), joins the Snobb’s Club, becomes a parliamentary candidate for the Opportunists’ Party – and earns himself a coronary.
The film loses much of the impact of the long-running stage production but still contains marvellous songs, including What Kind of Fool Am I?, Gonna Build a Mountain and Once In a Lifetime.
The movie – little more than a filmed version of a stage production – was released in April 1966 but fared so badly that it was pulled the following week.
Jo Anna Short