The Grinning Man - SYNOPSIS

2017 West End
The Grinning Man the musical - SYNOPSIS

Act I

The show opens on Barkilphedro who introduces the audience to the story ("Laughter Is The Best Medicine"). We are introduced to the Royal Family. Lord David is at the puppet show and watches as Ursus introduces Grinpayne at the local freak-show, who proceeds to tell his story. Young Grinpayne (Puppeteered by the actor of Grinpayne) is rushed to catch a boat by his Mother, but upon seeing his face he's refused admission by the boat's sailors, who force his mother away from him ("Show us your face"/"Give me back my Mother"); and the boat sails into a storm, leaving Grinpayne alone with memories of his (hanged) Father ("Hymn of the Hanged"). Young Grinpayne walks and discovers a child, whom he takes from her dead mother - a young Dea. The two encounter a wolf, who leads them to his master, Ursus. Although shocked by Grinpayne's face, Ursus agrees to allow them to stay ("Stars in the Sky"). A few years later, Young Dea is blind; but has formed a strong connection with Grinpayne ("Blind to Nothing"). She begs her Father (The role Ursus has taken in both children's lives) to tell the story of beauty and the beast, but ultimately her and Grinpayne end up acting it out with their puppets; and the two grow up, with the puppeteers taking the place of the puppet counterparts ("Beauty and the Beast"). Meanwhile, the King dies, and the coronation proceeds to his Daughter, Angelica, but is skipped by her lazy sister, Josiana, and her lover and brother, David ("Weep Oh Weep"). Barkilphedro, in partial madness, sees the King come back to life and expresses a desire to be made into a Lord. Angelica sets about creating a tyrannical rule. Grinpayne expresses confusion as to why Dea loves him and believes she would not if she could see him ("Something's going to Change"). Josiana rings for Barkilphedro to come to her chambers, where she is angry her Brother has chosen the fair over her. Angelica arrives and tells her to warn their brother that if he returns to the fair he will be exiled, and tells Josiana she must marry, to Josiana's horror. David returns and begins rambling about a new exhibit of "The Grinning Man" at the fair who has revolutionised his life - in curiosity, Josiana agrees to come, bringing Barkilphedro with them ("Never Seen a Face Like This"). Grinpayne and Dea reveal feelings for one another ("Born Broken"). Grinpayne goes onstage for his act, in front of Josiana, David and Barkilphedro, where he reveals his face for the first time ("I am the Freak Show"). Barkilphedro recognises Grinpayne. The show ends and Ursus is enamoured with Grinpayne's performance ("Roll Up"). The two argue, however, as Ursus denies any knowledge to who Grinpayne is. It is revealed that to reduce his pain, Grinpayne has been taking a potion, crafted by Ursus. Grinpayne receives a letter from Josiana who is enamoured with him and his performance, and gives the impression she knows him ("Josiana's Letter"). Grinpayne is excited by this prospect of finally discovering who he is and decides to meet her ("A Scar is Born")

Act II

Grinpayne expresses a wish to know who he is, believing Dea would not love him if she could see him ("Labyrinth"). Ursus has been captured by Barkilphedro. Ursus reveals Grinpayne's potion is also a forgetting potion so he will not remember Barkilphedro. Dea arrives, demanding Ursus be let go. Barkilphedro reveals he was the one who hung Grinpayne's Father (who is revealed to be a traitor to the King), but a moment of pity allowed him to let Grinpayne and his mother go - mutilating Grinpayne's face so he would not be recognised ("Only a Clown"/"Give me Back My Mother (Reprise)"). Josiana meets with Grinpayne, and the two begin getting intimate ("Brand New World of Feeling") when Grinpayne is summoned to the palace and captured. Whilst there, Angelica strips David of his Lord status and kicks him out to the street; but when convinced to look at Grinpayne's exposed face, she is so moved she gives him the status of Lord, and makes Barkilphedro his servant, infuriating him, before she issues a demand to him for whoever mutilated Grinpayne to be found and killed. She also demands the fair be destroyed. ("The Smiling Song"). Grinpayne awakens the next morning and Angelica requires him to marry, but Barkilphedro refuses to allow him to marry Dea - suggesting Josiana may be a better match - to which both Angelica and Josiana agree. Barkilphedro terrified Ursus and Dea may reveal his secret, convinces Grinpayne to allow him to go to see Grinpayne's family to ask for Dea's hand in Grinpayne's stead, with the ulterior motive of wanting to retrieve Grinpayne's medicine recipe so Grinpayne will never remember how he was the one who caused his mutilation. He takes one of Grinpayne's puppets. On the way, Barkilphedro runs into David on the streets and taunts him. Dea awakens with no memory, having been administered Grinpayne's memory-forgetting medicine. Barkilphedro tells the family Grinpayne wishes to distance himself from the family, due to becoming a lord, presenting the puppet as proof of his word. He receives the medicine recipe and leaves, saying it was nice to see them again. The word "again" triggers Dea's memory of the torture room. Ursus attempts and fails to once again administer the potion to Dea, and she realises the potion is what makes Grinpayne forget his past, and she insists on seeing Grinpayne, leaving Ursus ("A New Beginning"). The fair is burned down. Ursus only just managing to escape flees to the Docks ("Burn Down the Fair"). Grinpayne again asks Angelica permission to marry Dea, but Angelica tells him Dea died when the fair burned down. Devastated, Grinpayne agrees to marry Josiana. At the wedding, David interrupts, declaring he cannot allow Josiana to marry Grinpayne, challenging Grinpayne to a duel. Grinpayne collapses in pain, having not had his medicine, when Dea charges into the room and tells him how his potion takes his memory; and he smashes the bottle, finally remembering his past ("The Last Kiss"). He fights David and nearly kills him, to Josiana's horror. She realises he is the one she loves, and the duel ends. Grinpayne remembers how Barkilphedro is the one who cut him, but it is revealed Ursus allowed it to happen to receive safe passage on a ship with his Wife and Child. Grinpayne is about to kill Barkilphedro when his Mother appears to him and begs him not to, repeating the plea she gave Barkilphedro when he was to kill Young Grinpayne ("Give Me Back my Mother (Reprise)"). Grinpayne forgives Barkilphedro. Dea realises she is Ursus' daughter and is horrified to realise she is the reason Grinpayne was mutilated, but Grinpayne refuses to blame her declaring he loves her ("The Smile on your Face"). Grinpayne and Dea run to intercept Ursus before he leaves. Barkilphedro is condemned to retell the story over and over in a theatre. Ursus is thrilled to know Dea is his daughter, and Grinpayne forgives him. Ursus gives Dea and Grinpayne money to flee on a ship, and requests they leave him behind. The two leave together ("Stars in the Sky (Reprise)").

Songs from musical: The Grinning Man musical Songs
Synopsis to The Grinning Man

The Grinning Man the Musical Lyrics

Laughter Is The Best Medicine
Show Us Your Face
Hymn Of The Hanged
Cry Of Pain
Stars In The Sky
Blind To Nothing
Beauty And The Beast
Weep Oh Weep
Somethings Going To Change
Never Seen A Face Like This
Born Broken
I Am The Freak Show
Roll Up!
Josiana's Letter
A Scar Is Born
Only A Clown
Brand New World Of Feeling
The Smiling Song
A New Beginning
Burn Down The Fair
Stars In The Sky