Anthony accompanying interview
with Simon Halsey, conductor of the
London Symphony Chorus
A Court Room. Late 1943. A Judge imposes a court injunction on any reporting of an accident that recently killed 173 people on the London Underground. Eric, a journalist, along with Zelda, whose mother died in the accident, all protest in the strongest terms. (‘No Other Word for it’). Early 1943. The life of commuters is seen through the eyes of Zelda and her parents as they travel to work on the London Underground. (‘Eastbound’). Passengers begin to use the station platform as a shelter, filling it with furniture and bedding. Three London Underground workers describe a typical morning clearing up after the night before. Concerned about the state of the stairwell down to the platform, they approach the Station Warden, Triggle. (‘Central Line Blues’). He advises them that an inspection team is on its way and he will pass on their concerns. The bowler-hatted inspection team arrive only to dismiss Triggle’s concerns, saying the government has no spare cash to pay for improvements. (‘Inspection Song’). Triggle has a premonition about people dying in a crush on the staircase due to its poor state of repair. (‘Triggle’s Premonition’). April 1943. A policeman and underground workers clear up personal items left behind in the crush. Having learned that her mother died in the crush, Zelda meets her father at the station to collect her belongings, including a red coat. (‘Inside my Heart’). May 1943. David is haunted by a voice that sounds like his WW1 Commanding Officer. (‘I Couldn’t Escape This Nightmare'). It warns him that Zelda needs to move forward and cease worrying about the causes of the accident. (‘A Brand New Chapter’). Zelda reluctantly agrees to go to work at local factory, but she won’t let the matter of the accident rest. On her first day at work, (‘Keep on Dreamin’) Zelda meets Esther, a local Jewish girl who describes how her people are being unfairly blamed for the accident. As Zelda has also heard that her mother is being blamed for it, the girls form a strong bond (‘Starting Today’). At home, David, egged on by a bowler-hatted man, instructs Zelda to stop gossiping about the accident. (‘Fake News’). In a local east end pub customers are entertained by the Pearly King & Queen of the East End (‘Last Orders’) as Eric interviews customers about what they recall of the accident. Two bowler-hatted men – who have become the “WALL” - slip quietly in to the bar and threaten Eric with the closure of his newspaper if he persists in his reporting (‘Fake News’). Office of the East End Enquirer: Eric interviews witnesses to the accident with the help of Zelda and Esther, while the WALL circles outside. Esther is shocked to discover that Eric intends on publishing the official government version of events rather than the truth. (‘The Truth Stops Here’).
Zelda and Eric agree that the truth must out, all the while falling for each other (‘Centre Stage’). Aware of the WALL over-hearing his every word (‘Fake News - Reprise’), David insists that Zelda stop investigating the accident but she insists on vindicating her mother (‘Inside My Heart - Reprise’). At the Home Office, the Home Secretary convenes a meeting with the WALL for an update on progress. He is furious because his department is being blamed for the state of the staircase. (‘It’s a Disaster’). One of the WALL suggests the blame be laid squarely at the door of a Jew, as it is claimed one tripped and caused the crush (‘Fake News’). At the station, Triggle cradles a baby rescued in the crush (‘A Miracle You Can Believe’). Platform shelterers are given gas mask training carried out by the ARP Warden (‘There’s Nothing Like the Gas’). While Eric finishes off his newspaper article, The WALL attempts to block Esther from entering the office. Undeterred, Esther reveals to Eric a vital piece of missing information
(‘The Truth Starts Here’). Zelda meets her father on the platform, when she notices that all the passengers are carrying the same newspaper. The headline reads “Woman in Red Coat Saves Baby in Crush”. Zelda leads a throng of people down the station staircase (‘19 Steps’), and reunites with Eric (‘Centre Stage - Reprise’)