In 1985 Epsom Girls Grammar and Auckland Grammar Schools presented a double bill of two New Zealand plays. Under the overall title of “Family Benefits”, the plays were Anyway Sweet Christmas by Gordon Dryland, and Mister Bones and Mister Jones by Eve Hughes. Both plays dealt with the family unit and the search for success and recognition. The latter play also demanded a certain amount of incidental music, to which were added (with the playwright’s permission) several songs to amplify aspects of the action or narrative. The lyrics were written by the director Michael Evershed.
Mister Bones and Mister Jones is presented as a type of minstrel show, held together by the character of “Mister Interlocutor” – a sort of ringmaster. Two families are contrasted: one striving for material success, while the other cares little for the trappings of contemporary society.
Of the many school productions I have been music director for, this was one of the happiest and most enjoyable experiences.