Wallace & Gromit Alive On Stage In A Grand Night Out (lost recording of stage show; 1997-1998)
Wallace & Gromit Alive On Stage In A Grand Night Out is a stage play based off the claymation series Wallace & Gromit by Nick Park, the stage play ran from sometime in 1997 to May 1998. There was a West End version and a revival version but it is unknown when the West End version stopped being showed and when the revival version started being showed.
Wallace is on the stage of the local playhouse, preparing an invited audience for the public unveiling of his latest invention: the Mark I Pantheatricon. It's a fully automated theatre 'with added add-ons, housed in a caravan. Wallace tells the audience that he invented it after he joined WWADS - the West Wallaby Amateur Dramatics Society. It contains, somewhere within its high-tech circuitry, a brainwave activator that relays an entire role to an actor through a headset that they have to wear, meaning that they never forget a line! It also has a Theme Generator, which can switch themes from Musical to Western to Thriller at the drop of a hat, and a Costumerama, allowing instant generation of the appropriate costume for whatever theme has been chosen.
Aided by Gromit and Shaun the Sheep. Wallace begins his demonstration. At the press of a button the entire caravan unfolds itself onto the stage, providing an acting area, a back-stage area and a place for the musicians to sit.
Wallace is, however, put off his stride when Wendolene Ramsbottom turns up in the middle of his demonstration. She tells him that she wants to be friends again following their falling out over the matter of Preston the Robot dog and the sheep- rustling. She has bought a large box with her, and a newspaper which contains a startling story about the according to the newspaper report, sworn revenge on the pair who brought him to justice. That pair, Wallace realizes, are him and Gromit!
As the demonstration of the Mark 1 Pantheatricon continues, Gromit is 'persuaded' to try out the Costumerama function. Aiming for a set of cowboy. clothes, he emerges dressed as ballet dancer and is forced to perform Tchaikovsky's Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy in front of everyone. Moments later, the Costumerama forces him into opera garb, cowboy clothes, burlesque and folk dancing costumes. There's obviously been a malfunction.
Wallace, Wendolene and Gromit go round the back of the caravan to fix the Pantheatricon. While they are gone, Wendolene's abandoned box opens up and 'Feathers' McGraw steps out! It appears that the amoral avian has hypnotized Wendolene into acting as his assistant in a bizarre plan to get his revenge on Wallace and Gromit.
While 'Feathers' McGraw hides somewhere backstage, Wallace returns to the front of the auditorium with Wendolene and tells the audience that everything is now ready for a complete run-through of a theatrical production using the incomparable resources of the Mark 1 Pantheatricon. Although normally reluctant to appear on stage, Wendolene says she will join in (although we know that she's under the control of 'Feathers' McGraw).
Wallace sets about choosing a book as the basis for their experimental theatrical extravaganza. He decides against The Silence of the Lambs-probably wisely and chooses instead a classic Victorian mystery in the style of Arthur Conan Doyle. The book is inserted into a slot in the Pantheatricon, and its plot and characters are analysed and dramatized. The costumerama springs into action, kitting Wallace out as a deerstalker-clad detective and Gromit as his Indefatigable assistant. Shaun's responsibility is the provision of sound effects, but he keeps getting them wrong, forcing Wallace and Gromit to improvise.
Wallace and Gromit journey from their digs at Baker Street to Wensleydale Moor to aid Lady Wensleydale, whose husband has disappeared and whose cheese has come out stained red, as if with blood! The entire production is thrown into momentary confusion when Wendolene's penguin-induced hypnotic trance wears off and she realizes that she can't continue in her role as the local barmaid. Gromit takes over, but then discovers that he can't play the detective's assistant and the barmaid at the same time, so Shaun the Sheep takes over as the barmaid. 'Feathers McGraw is forced to emerge from his hidey hole and re- hypnotize Wendolene so that she can continue acting on the stage, where she keeps trying, and failing, to kill Wallace on the penguin's behalf.
In the play, the detective and his assistant make their way across the moors to Wensleydale Hall. Shaun reappears as the butler-Lambsbottom but Feathers McGraw replaces the sheep and tries to poison the two heroes! They go to their rooms, where they intend getting a good night's sleep before attempting to solve the mystery of the disappearing Lord Wensleydale, but a hypnotized Wendolene tries once more to kill them while they pretend to be asleep.
During a dramatic night-time chase scene through Wensleydale Manor, in which the detective and his assistant are following a mysterious hooded figure, the penguin uses a remote control to keep altering the theatrical style that the Mark 1 Pantheatricon is imposing upon the stagebound action. Wallace and Gromit just think that the machine is malfunctioning, as Wallace's machines are wont to do.
The chase finishes with the mysterious hooded figure (actually. Wendolene in her role as Lady Wensleydale) escaping through a hidden door in the library. Our detective and his assistant (actually, Wallace and Gromit) follow her to the moor, where Wendolene and Wallace break out of their roles and share a romantic moment alone.
Feathers McGraw arrives on stage, dressed as the detective's assistant. It's time to put his evil plan into action! He hits Wendolene with a stone, knocking her down. Wallace, seeing what he supposes to be Gromit striking down the woman he loves, fires Gromit from the play.Wendolene, under the penguin's control, persuades Wallace to switch the Mark 1 Pantheatricon's theme to 'Cops and Robbers'. Using Wallace and the play as cover. Feathers McGraw and Wendolene start taking valuables from audience, who are supposed to think that this is all part of the action, Wallace realizes that something's afoot. During a confused finale, in which the Pantheatricon keeps switching themes, Wallace confronts the penguin, who attempts to kill him in a kebab slicing machine, but Gromit arrives just in time to rescue his master. A chase ensues, as it almost always does, and the penguin's schemes are undone when his own bomb explodes near him, blowing him back to prison again.Wallace apologizes to the audience for the chaos on stage, and Wendolene recovered now from her hypnosis - resumes her bittersweet romance with Wallace.
Several promotional and professional photos were taken during its run. We know that in the revival run of the play, it wasn't professionally recorded but it's possible that the west end version of the play was professionally recorded but this hasn't been proven. It’s likely there was a fan recording of either version of the play but there is no proof a fan recording existing.
On November 9th, 2022, part of segment promoting the play from an episode of Blue Peter was discovered, which featured part of an interview with Nick Park, the creator of Wallace & Gromit, and a brief showcase of what is believed to be the Techno Trousers prop used for the play. It is believed that in the full episode there was more about the stage play than just being promoted. The original upload being labelled as 1998, we know that the episode which the clip was from an episode that was aired on November 26th, 1997.
- Aardman Animations (found Cuprinol stop-motion TV ads from British animation studio; 1988-late 1990s)
- Aardman Animations (partially found stop-motion commercials from British animation studio; 1980s-2010s)
- A Grand Day Out (lost Peter Hawkins' "Gromit" dialogue from stop-motion animated film; 1989)
- Lurpak (partially lost Aardman Animations commercials for Danish butter brand; 1990s)
- Pib and Pog (lost original college animation of stop-motion short; early 1990s)
- Shaun The Sheep (lost pilot of British stop-motion TV series; early to mid 2000s)
- Sumitomo Life (found "Wallace & Gromit" commercial for Japanese insurance company; 2000-2001)
- 1997 Financial Times review of the play. Retrieved 27 Dec '22