Adapted from the traditional English story set in ancient China, the narrative concerns the love of a mandarin's daughter for the son of her father's gardener. Although kept away from the world in order that she marry the person of her father's choice, she falls dangerously in love with the gardener's son, and they are subsequently forced to flee the parental wrath.
Songs included 'Fried Rice' (a tango), 'The Land of Let's Pretend', 'Yangtse King', and 'I Am'.
The story of the Willow Pattern Plate is based on a famous design developed ca. 1790 by Josiah Spode as a means of increasing the sales of English pottery. The design became enormously popular by the early 1800s, and many similar patterns were produced over the course of the nineteenth century. Among the earliest theatrical productions based on the story was W. P. Hale and Francis Talfourd's extravaganza, first published and staged in 1851. The story is also sometimes known as The Mandarin's Daughter.
1957: Phillip Street Theatre, Sydney, 29 June 1957 - 11 January 1958. Director William Orr.
Cast incl. Maree Austin (the Mandarin's daughter), John Parker (the gardener's son), Owen Weingott, Betty Benfiled, John Bluthal, Leon Thau, Sonny Jose, Rhonny Gabriel, Eric Rasdell (q.v.), Reginald Livermore (q.v.), Ben Gabriel, Helene France.
Musicians incl. Peter Sculthorpe (q.v.).
The production was presented as Saturday matinee performances between 29 June 1957 and 11 January 1958 (except for a three-week season of evening shows, beginning 12 August 1957) and as a daily matinee performances between 16 December 1957 and 11 January 1958.