Created by Philip Glassborow (writer) with Pamela Howard (Director/Visual Artist)
Adapted from the book by Wolf Mankowitz “A Kid for Two Farthings” (pub. Andre Deutsch 1953)
A UNICORN FOR JOE is based on the much-loved book and film, A Kid For Two Farthings by Wolf Mankowitz. The 1955 film was directed by Carol Reed and was selected as the Royal Film Performance. It starred the ‘British bombshell’ Diana Dors in the Sharona role, David Kossoff as Mr Kandinsky, Celia Johnson as Joe’s mother, Joe Robinson as Shmule, and great character actors such as Irene Handl, Sydney Tafler, Sidney James, Alfie Bass as the Bird Man, Joseph Tomelty as the Unicorn Man, and - in a tiny cameo role, uncredited - Barbara Windsor.
Wolf’s screenplays include The Millionairess (starring Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren)… The Bespoke Overcoat which won an Oscar in 1959… The Day The Earth Caught Fire… The Irish Hebrew Lesson… and many more. Wolf has the distinction of having co-written the first-ever James Bond movie, Dr No. But when he saw the rushes, he thought the film was going to be a disaster and asked for his name to be taken off the credits! However, he did introduce composer Monty Norman to the producers, and Monty went on to write the iconic James Bond theme which has featured in every film since.
Mankowitz was also a hugely successful novelist and playwright. His stage musical Expresso Bongo (starring Paul Scofield) was filmed with Cliff Richard and Laurence Harvey. His book Make Me An Offer was filmed (starring Peter Finch) and then became a hit theatre musical directed by Joan Littlewood. Cast included Sheila Hancock and Victor Spinetti, and the show won the Evening Standard Award for Best Musical of 1959. Wolf also wrote the book for the musical Pickwick, which starred Harry Secombe. The show is best-remembered today for its hit song, ‘If I Ruled The World’. The music was by Cyril Ornadel, who later teamed with Philip Glassborow to write the score for a musical version of A Kid For Two Farthings which is now titled A UNICORN FOR JOE.
An early version of this musical - then titled A Kid For Two Farthings, like the book and film - was workshopped by Mercury and Stoll Moss in the late 1990s starring Ron Moody. This used the narrative device of having an older Joe looking back at his childhood self and linking the scenes. Subsequently the book has been completely rewritten, and we are now also able to incorporate the remarkable advances in physical theatre, puppetry and immersive staging to create a fresh and exciting realisation of this magical fable.
Mr. Avrom Kandinsky: A trouser maker / Unicorn Man
Sam ‘Schmule’ Heppner: Kandinsky’s apprentice and a wrestler /
The Eel King / Joe Boesman: a young boy
Becky Boesman: Joe’s mother and worker for Mme Rita / Mrs Eatmore
Sharona Ornadel: Sam’s fiancée / Mrs Greenberg /
Maxine: worker at Mme Rita’s
Calypso: Stan the Birdman / Prince Monolulu / The Bermondsey Bruiser
A travelling musician (melodica player)
Mme Rita: A dress and hat maker
Puppets and Props
2021 CREATIVE TEAM
A sample of character drawings for 2022 production
Stan the Bird Man
Charitable donations to support this production may be made through:-
Insiders/Outsiders Arts Foundation (registered charity no.1182867)
Sort Code: 20-76-90
Account no: 43065057
The charity’s objects (‘Objects’) are specifically restricted to the following:
For the public benefit, to advance improve, develop and maintain public education in, and appreciation of the creative arts, including all forms of self-expression, both amateur and professional and specifically such art created by refugees or immigrants to the UK and their descendants through, in particular but not exclusively, the provision of an annual festival, or as the occasion may arise, of public concerts, performances and exhibitions.