Spring Season | March - May 2016


Book and Lyrics by Phil Willmott
Music by Phil Willmott and Mark Collins

Wednesday, 30 March – Friday, 22 April 2016

The World Premiere of a new British Musical

★★★★★ Musical Theatre Review
★★★★★ London Pub Theatres
★★★★ Time Out
★★★★ WhatsOnStage
★★★★ The Stage
★★★★ The Reviews Hub

Nominated for Best New Musical and Best Lighting Design Off West End Theatre Awards

“See only what you want to see and hear only what speaks your heart”

Originally seen as a staged reading as part of Vibrant – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights and commissioned and developed by the Bristol Old Vic, the world premiere of a new British musical, Princess Caraboo.

The extraordinary true story of a beautiful young woman who tricked her way from vagrancy to wealth and power in Regency England by pretending to be a shipwrecked Princess.

Maintaining the deception becomes imperative as the stakes get higher and higher and what begins as a desperate ploy by a petty criminal to evade the law escalates into a national scandal threatening to ruin anyone whose compassion, lust or ambition has blinded them to the truth.

As 'Princess Caraboo' becomes the superstar of her day she discovers the price to be paid for living a lie and the cost of drawing the man she loves into her deceit.

We all of us tell little lies; to make life run smoother, to land the perfect job, to win and keep the ones we love. This entertaining, glamorous and romantic story invites us all to consider the impact of life’s embellishments in defining who we really are and who we would like to be.

Originally seen as a staged reading as part of Vibrant – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights, Princess Caraboo has been extensively workshopped at Bristol old Vic where its development was overseen by Tony award winner Tom Morris (Jerry Springer - the Opera, War Horse) and benefited from the dramaturgy of the theatre’s Literary Manager, James Peries.


Multi-award winning Composer, Writer and Director Phil Willmott’s first collaboration as a composer with Mark Collins was the musical Lost Boy which transferred from the Finborough Theatre for an extended run at the Charing Cross Theatre and imagined the characters from Peter Pan as adults in the First World War. It will be published by Samuel French in 2016 to coincide with the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. Following the success of Lost Boy, Mark and Phil have subsequently completed commissions for Adam Kenwright and Shakespeare’s Globe. Phil Willmot’s first musical was a finalist for the prestigious Vivian Ellis prize, and his subsequent, internationally published and regularly revived musicals include Once Upon A Time At The Adelphi, commissioned by Liverpool Playhouse (TMA award winner and WhatsOnStage nominee for Best Musical Production in the UK) and its U.S. version Once Upon A Time At The Atlantic City which premiered in Connecticut and won five Spirit of Broadway Awards including Best Score and Best Direction, Around The World In Eighty Days, written for BAC and revived at Liverpool Playhouse, for a UK tour, and a two-year German tour, the Dick Barton Special Agent Trilogy originally commissioned by Croydon Warehouse and revived at Oldham Coliseum, Nottingham Playhouse, The Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch, Theatre by the Lake in Keswick, The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford, Greenwich Theatre, New Wimbledon Theatre and at Southwold Rep; and adaptations of Treasure Island and Jason And The Argonauts, all of which continue to be licensed regularly by Samuel French across the globe. The adaptation of Lysistrata he wrote with Germaine Greer was recently presented as part of the Almeida's Greek Season starring Tamsien Grieg, and his adaptation of Gorki's The Lower Depths is published by Oberon Books. His recent plays in London include a dramatisation of Wagner's Ring Cycle which played to 40,000 people at the Scoop, Captain Show-Off adapted from the Roman Comedies of Plautus, and Euripides' Trojan War Trilogy (also at the Scoop) Play Of Thrones, a popular amalgamation of the Shakespeare that inspired R. R. Martin (Union Theatre) Encounter, a new gay love story inspired by Brief Encounter (Above the Stag Theatre) and his reworking of Gilbert and Sullivan's Princess Ida which played for a sell out run at the Finborough Theatre in 2015. He often writes about Musical Theatre as a regular columnist for The Stage and reviews West End and Broadway musicals for toplondontheatre.com


Mark Collins | Music, Arrangements and Orchestrations

Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Co-Composer for Lost Boy (which subsequently transferred to Charing Cross Theatre). Also, Musical Supervisor for Adam Guettel’s Myths & Hymns, and Musical Director for Grant Olding’s Three Sides.

Mark has been MD or Musical Supervisor on many new musicals, including The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole (Curve, Leicester), Dessa Rose (Trafalgar Studios), Dougal Irvine’s The Other School (NYMT at St James’ Theatre), Wah! Wah! Girls (Kneehigh and Sadler’s Wells at The Peacock Theatre, London and UK Tour) and Rifco’s Britain’s Got Bhangra (Theatre Royal Stratford East and two UK Tours).

Mark is Assistant Musical Director for the West End production of Billy Elliot The Musical (Victoria Palace Theatre).


Althea Burey | Ensemble
Trained at Colchester Institute and Guildford School of Acting.
Theatre includes Pandora (Union Theatre) and Don't Run (Waterloo East Theatre).
Theatre whilst training includes Godspell, Oklahoma! and Hands On A Hardbody.

Christian James | Eddie Harvey
Trained at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
Theatre includes The Adventures of Pinocchio (Greenwich Theatre) and Aladdin and Dick Whittington (Corn Exchange, Newbury).
Theatre whilst training includes Twelfth Night, Hamlet, Present Laughter, Company and Grease.

Nikita Johal | Princess Caraboo
Trained at Performance Preparation Academy, Guildford. Theatre includes Aladdin (The Harlington, Fleet), Bring It On: The Musical (Electric Theatre, Guildford) and The World Goes 'Round (Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford).
Voiceover includes Kidzania (London and Mexico).
Workshops include Bend It Like Beckham (Dominion Theatre Studio) and His Indian Boyfriend (Theatre Royal Stratford East).

Ruben Kuppens | Ensemble
Trained at Frank Sanders' Academy for Musical Theatre and Guildford School of Acting.
Theatre includes De Nieuwe IJstijd (Dutch National Tour), Pandora (Union Theatre), Don't Run and IF (Waterloo East Theatre).
Theatre whilst training includes Oklahoma! and Snoopy.

Sarah Lawn | Lady Elizabeth Worrell
Trained at Guildford School of Acting and Middlesex University.
Theatre includes Blithe Spirit (Gielgud Theatre), Woman In Mind (Vaudeville Theatre), Peter Pan the Musical and Absent Friends (Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage), Season's Greetings (Rhodes Art Complex, Bishops Stortford), Anyone Can Whistle (Bridewell Theatre), Bless the Bride (King’s Head Theatre), Sleeping Beauty (Oxford Playhouse), Around the World in Eighty Days (Battersea Arts Centre), Cinderella (Cambridge Arts Theatre) and Much Ado About Nothing, The Way of the World, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Alice in Wonderland and The Country Wife (UK Tours).
Film includes Mumbo Jumbo.

Hilary Murnane | Ensemble
Trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.
Theatre includes Hero and Amanda (Canal Café Theatre) and Orchid (Etcetera Theatre).
Theatre whilst training includes Mary Shelley, Bonnie and Clyde, Curtains, Parade, Chick, Fiddler on the Roof, The Bright and Bold Design, Romeo and Juliet and Titus Andronicus.

Joseph O’Malley | Osvaldo Agathias
Trained at Guildford School of Acting.
Theatre includes Women of Troy (The Scoop), One Man Two Guvnors (National Theatre), A Life of Galileo (Royal Shakespeare Company), Horrible Histories Tudors and Victorians, Horrible Histories Groovy Greeks, Horrible Science (UK Tours), Billy (Union Theatre) and HMS Pinafore (King’s Head Theatre).
Film includes Natasha.

Rebecca Ridout | Ensemble
Trained at London School of Musical Theatre and National Youth Music Theatre.
Theatre includes The Game (St. James Studio Theatre), A Christmas Carol (Castle Theatre, Wellingborough), Flight (Opera Holland Park), The Sound of Music (Curve Leicester and International Tour), Frances Ruffelle's Paris Original (St. James Studio Theatre), Love Is Eternal (London Theatre Workshop), The Next Big Thing (Edinburgh Festival), Molly Wobbly (Phoenix Artists Club) and Tis the Season (Jermyn Street Theatre).

Phil Sealey | Sir Charles Worrell
Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Red Night.
Trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
Theatre includes Sondheim’s Roadshow (Union Theatre), Dick Whittington and Aladdin (Corn Exchange, Newbury), Alice's Adventures Underground (The Vaults), Fanny and Stella (Above the Stag Theatre), The Ring Cycle Plays (The Scoop), The Searcher (Greenwich Theatre), The Winter’s Tale (Courtyard Theatre) and Lord of the Flies (Royal Shakespeare Company).

Oliver Stanley | Lord Marlborough
Trained at Birmingham School of Acting and Royal Academy of Music.
Theatre includes Spring Awakening (Loughborough Town Hall), Billy Young (Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham), Whistle Down The Wind (Union Theatre), Till The Clouds Roll By (St. James Theatre), Hair (MacDonald Holyrood Hotel, Edinburgh) and Evita (UK Tour).
Vocal performances at venues including the Prince Edward Theatre, St James Studio Theatre, Tower of London, Crazy Coqs, Café de Paris, The Actors' Church and the Hammersmith Apollo alongside Chris Martin and Coldplay.


★★★★★ Musical Theatre Review
★★★★★ London Pub Theatres
★★★★ Time Out
★★★★ WhatsOnStage
★★★★ The Stage
★★★★ The Reviews Hub

Nominated for two OffWestEnd awards for BEST NEW MUSICAL Phil Willmott and Mark Collins BEST LIGHTING DESIGNER: Jack Weir

“Musicals this good do not come along often enough.” Scott Matthewman, Musical Theatre Review

“Romantic, exotic and deceptive, his story of fake royalty has it all.” Mark Valencia, WhatsOnStage

“Phil Willmott’s charming new musical.” Stephen Bates, The Reviews Hub

“Phil Willmott’s lively new musical...A tune-filled romp around an historical anecdote that is full of theatrical fun: a light-hearted evening to enjoy.” Howard Loxton, British Theatre Guide

“Funny, charming fringe musical... A snappy, well-paced production” Tom Wicker, Time Out

“This beautiful, charming, funny musical.” Scott Matthewman, Musical Theatre Review

“An ambitious, imaginative and robustly enjoyable new work.” Mark Valencia, WhatsOnStage

“A delightful and charming new musical.” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network

“Its theme is fakery, but, in the world of fringe musicals, Princess Caraboo looks pretty close to being the real deal.” Stephen Bates, The Reviews Hub

“No word of a lie, Princess Caraboo really is rather good.” Ian Foster, There Ought To Be Clowns

“An effective and affecting piece of storytelling and reaffirms the Finborough's commitment to supporting British musical theatre.” Ian Foster, There Ought To Be Clowns

“With only fifty seats per performance Princess Caraboo will quickly sell out through word of mouth. So catch it while you can.” Mark Valencia, WhatsOnStage

“This welcome new musical springs on to the small stage of the Finborough Theatre in Earls Court in a fully-formed, sprightly and thoroughly enjoyable fashion.” Tom Wicker, Time Out

“A polished, well-made and potentially commercial work...crafted with detail and well performed.” Laura Kressly, The Play’s The Thing UK

“A real fringe joy - songs I'd happily listen to again, and a show that deserves, like Willmott and Collins' previous musical at the Finborough, Lost Boy, to have a further life after this run.” Partially Obstructed View

“It’s refreshing to have a new musical whose setting isn’t contemporary, which has more than four characters and which isn’t Sondheimesque! I’m sure this won’t be its last outing, but anyone interested in musical theatre should head for the Finborough in the next two weeks.” Gareth James, Gareth’s Culture And Travel Blog

“Willmott’s witty book.” Paul Vale, The Stage

“Phil Willmott has crafted a fresh, engaging tale.” Tom Wicker, Time Out

“The musical score, composed by Willmott and Mark Collins, was poignant, beautiful and (most importantly) MEMORABLE! I was singing the final song all the way to the bar and beyond!” Molly Miller, Female Arts

“Willmott, and co-composer Mark Collins, providing a suitably varied and rich score.” Stephen Bates, The Reviews Hub

“The music (by Willmott and Mark Collins, with lyrics also by Willmott) is suitably light and breezy.” Scott Matthewman, Musical Theatre Review

“Willmott and Collins’s score is very colourful and entertaining, and the ensemble does a great job of performing it with passion and determination.” Franciska Ery, A Younger Theatre

“The shows strongest point is a lovey, tuneful score by Willmott and Mark Collins.” Gareth James, Gareth’s Culture And Travel Blog

“The songs, most of them comically clever, draw on a tradition of English theatre music from Charles Dibdin to musical comedy.” Ho

ward Loxton, British Theatre Guide “A well-written, memorable score with a story to match.” Molly Miller, Female Arts

“A lot of catchy tunes, none more so than Caraboo's signature song "I Am My Own Person," a proper earworm that'll be stuck in your head for some time afterwards.” Partially Obstructed View

“The lyrics are catchy and the melodies memorable. ‘I am My Own Person’ is a particular standout – and could sum up this delight of a show as a whole.” Tom Wicker, Time Out

“It’s a fine cast without a weak link.” Gareth James, Gareth’s Culture And Travel Blog

“Phil Sealey and Sarah Lawn were delightful as the Worrall’s, Christian James made a charming Eddie and Nikita Johal a fine Princess. I was particularly impressed by Oliver Stanley as Marlborough, as close to a baddie as we get in this show.” Gareth James, Gareth’s Culture And Travel Blog

“Touching and often downright hilarious performances from Oliver Stanley, Phil Sealey and Sarah Lawn.” Paul Vale, The Stage

“Nikita Johal's Princess is a subtler creature than you might expect for a title role but she makes you believe the struggle is real.” Ian Foster, There Ought To Be Clowns

“Nikita Johal, petite, doe-eyed and with beaming smile, is the perfect “Princess”, adding dashes of mischief and cunning to her natural charm.” Stephen Bates, The Reviews Hub

“As Caraboo, Nikita Johal brings a mischievous impishness that is just right for the role.” Scott Matthewman, Musical Theatre Review

“Nikita Johal plays the titular princess (really a destitute servant girl in desperate need of a future) with a sweet charm that hides a core of determination.” Sian Rowland, London Pub Theatres

“Nikita Johal makes Princess Caraboo beguiling but also tough.” Tom Wicker, Time Out “As Princess Caraboo, Nikita Johal makes a winsome schemer and has a voice of considerable range.” Bill Hagerty, Hammersmithtoday.co.uk

“Painter Eddie (an almost huggably endearing Christian James).” Tom Wicker, Time Out

“James gives him an open-hearted honesty that is totally engaging; it’s a winning performance that wins hearts for him.” Howard Loxton, British Theatre Guide

“Sarah Lawn exudes warmth as the kindly but gullible Lady Worrall.” Mark Valencia, WhatsOnStage

“Strong support comes from Sarah Lawn as the maternal Lady Worrall and Oliver Stanley as Lord Marlborough.” Stephen Bates, The Reviews Hub

“Oliver Stanley’s Lord Marlborough is a sleazily boorish toff, the perfect villainous foil.” Scott Matthewman, Musical Theatre Review

“Oliver Stanley's Lord Marlborough is a deliciously awful slice of upper-class toff.” Ian Foster, There Ought To Be Clowns

“Phil Sealey as Sir Charles Worrall, a jolly and most amenable host, is a splendid narrator.” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network

“The bearded, barrel-chested Phil Sealey deserves credit for a performance sometimes reminiscent of the equally so Brian Blessed as Sir Charles Worrall.” Bill Hagerty, Hammersmithtoday.co.uk

“Willmott directs with a fast-flowing sense of pace.” Ian Foster, There Ought To Be Clowns

“Willmott the director treats his own opus to a vibrant production.” Mark Valencia, WhatsOnStage

“Musical director Freddie Tapner’s three-piece band (strings, woodwind and keyboards) does full justice to the music.” Stephen Bates, The Reviews Hub

“It is highly musically entertaining. A lightness of touch keeps the show sprightly indeed under Freddie Tapner's musical direction and there's a real tunefulness here.” Ian Foster, There Ought To Be Clowns

“There's terrific musical accompaniment from a trio led by Freddie Tapner.” Mark Valencia, WhatsOnStage

“Excellent orchestrations.” Gareth James, Gareth’s Culture And Travel Blog

“Thomas Michael Voss' choreography packs in a good deal of excitement into the intimate space.” Ian Foster, There Ought To Be Clowns

“Thomas Michael Voss infuses the action with some spritely choreography.” Paul Vale, The Stage

“Lavishly costumed in period by Penn O’Gara.” Howard Loxton, British Theatre Guide

“Penn O’Gara’s costumes are excellent.” Gareth James, Gareth’s Culture And Travel Blog


"This is a brilliant musical...A spectacular triumph” James Hodgson, Everything Theatre on Lost Boy

“Artfully structured and packed with strong, musical numbers that drive the narrative... Confidently blending musical styles, epic themes and riveting drama” Paul Vale, The Stage on Lost Boy

“An ambitious and complex work full of imaginative ideas.” Howard Loxton, British Theatre Guide on Lost Boy


Wednesday, 30 March – Friday, 22 April 2016

Tuesday to Saturday Evenings at 7.30pm.
Sunday Matinees at 3.00pm.
Saturday Matinees 3.00pm.

Performance Length: Approximately two hours and 30 minutes including one interval.

Prices until 10 April 2016

Tickets £16, £14 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £14 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £16 all seats.
Previews (29 and 30 March) £12 all seats.

£10 tickets for Under 30's for performances from Tuesday to Sunday of the first week when booked online only.

£12 tickets for residents of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on Saturday, 2 April 2016 when booked online only.

Prices from 12 April 2016

Tickets £18, £16 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £16 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £18 all seats. 

For details of our Returns Policy for sold out performances, please click here


Directed by Phil Willmott

Musical Direction by Freddie Tapner

Choreographed by Thomas Michael Voss

Designed by Toby Burbidge

Lighting Design by Jack Weir

Costume Design by Penn O'Gara

Sound Design by James Nicholson

Commissioned and Developed by Bristol Old Vic

Presented by The Phil Willmott Company and The Steam Industry.