Pounds of love - the Musical

The story of the life of John Pounds of Portsmouth
"POUNDS OF LOVE"
The Musical

The new musical "Pounds of Love," Lyrics by Bryan Hodgkins, Music by Mick Cooper. Copyright April 2005

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The song list;-
1. This is my life, sung by young John, with nothing to lose and everything to win, planning his future.
2. John's theme, just 20 or 30 seconds of the middle section played as they carry John off after his accident.
3. Did you see that boy?, The much older future spiriti of John looks down on young John and mourns the loss of his active life.
4. Convicts song, a group of convicts are marched off to the ship for transportation singing of their fate.
5. Barney Owl, John Pounds sings and teaches the children about nature and life.
6. 'Ere mate, the ladies of the street sing and are waiting at the dockyard gate for the sailors on leave, well how is a girl going to make a shilling?
7. Drunkards, the Landlord of the pub next door, sings about his problem, and it's his customers.
8. Angel, Sally sings to Josie, wishing they had a better life.
9. We're going, John Pounds and the children sing because they are going on a day trip out over Portsdown Hill,
10. Busy busy bee, the children sing about the joys of the countryside.
11. All I have is love, Tom wants Lizzie to wait for him, about two years while he's at sea, but she says no, they must wait util his return before they declare their love. Sung by John Paul McCrohon and Sheila Birt.
12. Right or wrong, John Pounds questions his task, and seeks re-assurance from God.(This song will be changed.)
13. One two buckle my shoe, Polly with her new shoes, and the children get some wisdom from John Pounds as they sing and clog dance.
14. Can you hear me, John Pounds pleads for compassion for his urchins.(I will re-write this song)
15. What a whopper, The cast sing as the Christmas pud arrives and it is huge.
16. Ragged Kids March, a vocal version of the hornpipe.
17. I don't need him, Jack has come to the end of his time with John Pounds and regrets he has to leave.
18. Tick Tock, John Pounds and the children explain how to tell the time.
19. Pounds of Love, The finale, I young girl sings alone in a single spotlight, and gradually moves forward, she is joined by others and soon the stage is filled with the entire cast singing Pounds of Love.

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Synopsis


John Pounds, crippled as a youth in a Dockyard fall, finds a career, and a small income, as a boot maker in a tiny one room shop in old Portsmouth at the end of the eighteenth century. He takes pity on the ragged kids left to fend for themselves on the hostile streets and takes them into his shop, warms them, feeds them, and teaches them. Life in the city is tough. The threat of starvation, deportation, and alcohol are always prevalent.
The story follows John's life, and the kids, as they grow and long for a 'good life'. It follows them as they explore the, never before seen, countryside. John challenges the other local traders to help. All is sweet until some of the grown kids are troubled when they have to leave to make room for younger ones.
The time comes when John is gone, but the love he had for his ragged kids, remains in the hearts of all who knew him.

POUNDS OF LOVE ACT ONE The show starts in the year of 1781. Opening with a lively hornpipe number "This is my life" where the young John Pounds (aged 15) is full of life and optimism for his future. Then has his fall from the scaffold in Portsmouth dockyard.
The older John Pounds, looking down on young John sings the melencoly song "Did you see me then".)
It then takes a time leap to 1820, when the older John Pounds is aged 54.
Here he meets up again with his first pupil (Tom) while saving him from going to prison.
but the boy's farther, along with other convicts are being deported too Australia. (The Convicts song, sung by the convicts.) The scene then is when he starts his school. At first only a few but as the story goes on the numbers get larger and larger (The children are all very poor, dirty and destitute. (There is a song here sung by John Pounds or Tom "Barney Owl".) The show then will reveal the seedy side of the district he and the children live in. Le. prostitutes, drunkards, and the squalor. (There are three songs here sung by Prostitutes, "Ere mate" then John Pounds and landlord singing "Drunkard" Also there are two small abandoned children who will sing. "Twinkle, twinkle little star" and " Angle" .) (Be prepared for not a dry eye in the house.) Next John is preparing to take the children out into the country side. (The song is "We're going" then scene changing to country side where the children come marching on singing "Busy, busy bee and "Buttercup" .) It is during this scene that there is a romantic duet between Tom (16years) and Liz (15 years) Then there is a song sung/spoken by John Pounds it is a sort of a prayer.

POUNDS OF LOVE ACT TWO (It is Christmas Eve a few years later.) Starts with a Christmas scene with a large Christmas card and well to do people doing their shopping with lively seasonal music. Then the card is pulled to side to revile the ragged and poverty stricken people and children. Followed by John Pounds coming on dressed as St. Nicholas with sack full of shoes, (the song here is ("One two buckle my shoe" This is a clog dance.) It will be followed by John Pound rebuking the people, for treating the children badly, with a song/spoken. ("Can you hear me!") making them ashamed of them selves.
The following day being Christmas day is the day when John, with the help of a neighbour make a giant plum pudding, and as always there is enough for all the children and any others who just might want some, (The song here is "what a whopper") and is sung by every one. Next Children coming to school singing "Ragged kids march" .There is a strong scene where one of the elder boy's (Dick) is leaving the school but does not want to.("I don't need him")
Coming toward the end, there is a dream where John meets some of his old pupils who have done well for them selves. This is followed by John dying and meeting all the children who have died who went to his school. One of the children (Polly) comes forward telling part of story and what happens after where the school goes on to greater things. (The song is "Pounds of love". The character of John needs to be rough (even harsh) and strong.
The show is designed too let People know about John Pounds and the good work he achieved. I, while writing the show found it very hard to keep the tears back Well to tell the truth I could not.

email: cooper_m6@sky.com

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This webpage is sponsored by Mick Cooper with the co-operation of the John Pounds of Portsmouth Heritage Appeal.