Lust is a musical based on William Wycherley's The Country Wife.



The year is 1661 and London is celebrating the Restoration and the fall of Puritan Austerity. Morals have slipped; just the climate for Horner, a handsome libertine, who just can't resist women! the local populace are fearful of Horner, and are plotting his comeuppance. However, Quack, a physician, who derives great pleasure from the sexual antics of Horner, plans a grand deception to help him.

While Horner is is cooling his heels in France, Quack has been spreading a rumour around London society, that Horner has caught the "pox" there and have been castrated. The women are devastated but the men are delighted, and enjoy the happy hour at the local tavern, making the most of the news of Horner's condition.

Horner, having heard Quack's plan on his return, is delighted and plays along with the ruse. Meanwhile, Pinchwife, an embittered victim of Horner's - he once bedded his future bride on the eve of their wedding - has returned to London with his beautiful new 'country wife' Margery.

He returned in order to marry off his spinster sister Alithea to the odious Sparkish, an effeminate fop, greedily waiting to receive the large dowry. Ignorant of Horner' assumed predicament, he fears for his wife's safety, after Horner declared this love for Margery (having seen her at the theatre the previous evening) and confines her to their lodgings.

Margery, overjoyed at hearing this, but nevertheless very upset at not being able to go to the theatre again, indulges in fantasy. Alithea meets Harcourt, a more presentable young man, at the theatre that night and they are immediately drawn together.

In another part of London the 'ladies of quailty' are discussing the shocking news about Horner, and declare their own concerns at the state of moral decay among the upper classses, at the same time hiding their own shortcomings. Sir Jasper, husband to Lady Fidget, is keen to keep his wife happy while he plays away, and offer the services of Horner for this purpose, naively assuming that he is functuous officio!.

Margery is most disgruntled at being locked up, and warns Pinchwife that she will cut off his conjugal rights if he does not take her to the local hanging, where she would secretly like to meet Horner, after his declaration of love. Pinchwife agrees, but only if she dresses as a man, and poses as his brother! Margery agrees. Horner and the other men attending immediately guess she is his wife in disguise. Livid at her behaviour at disappearing into the night with Horner, Pinchwife demands that Margery write him a letter, abusing him, which he dictates.

Horner, having declared to the world that he is officially a eunuch, is having a whale of a time bedding the ladies. However, he is caught red handed with lady Fidget by Sir Jasper who is fooled into thinking that his wife visits Horner to help her choose pieces of China for her collection!

Margery, Harcourt and Alithea are in love and bemoan their predicament. Horner, in a state of exhaustion, still cant get Margery out of his mind. Having received her love letter he is comforted by his friend and confident Quack, who suggests he spends some time 'in the country'.

Margery gets herself into further trouble with Pinchwife, by writing yet another letter to Horner. She declares that she is writing it for Alithea, who is, she says, in love with Horner, who has proposed marriage. Pinchwife is pleased at this, as he could possibly save paying the dowry money to Sparkish. He does insist though, that he will take Alithea and a Parson to see Horner and deliver the letter. However, as Alithea has no knowledge of this, Margery disguises herself as Alithea and even wears a mask! Margery meets Horner. Pinchwife goes to fetch the parson. Horner gives Margery.

Problems arise. Three 'ladies of quality' have come in to straighten out their position with Horner, having discovered that he has bedded all three! Horner has to finally prove to the disgruntled husbands that he is truly a eunuch, which he does with a little help from his dear friend Quack.

Musical numbers

Act I
  • "The Art of Deceiving" - Quack, Horner
  • "Serve The Dog Right" - Horner, Quack, Lady Fidget, Sir Jasper, Sparkish, Squeamish, Dainty, Dorilant, Harcourt, Charity, Prudence, Rudge, Footman
  • "I Live For Love" - Horner
  • "A Pox On Love And Wenching" - Horner, Quack, Harcout, Sparkish, Dorilant, Prudence, Chastity, Rudge.
  • "I Live For Love" (reprise) - Horner
  • "Somewhere Out There" - Margery
  • "Ladies of Quality" - Lady Fidget, Squeamish, Dainty
  • "Husbands Beware" - Horner, Quack, Squeamish, Dainty, Dorilant, Company.
  • "Come Tomorrow" - Harcourt, Alithea.
  • "What a Handsome Little Fellow" - Horner, Quack, Sparkish, Dorilant, Sir Jasper, Company.
  • "The Captain's Jig" - Full Company
  • "Wait and See/Lust" - Full Company
Act II
  • "Lust" (reprise)- Full Company.
  • "Dear Sir" - Pinchwife, Margery
  • "Ode To The One I Love" - Horner
  • "China" - Sir Jasper, Quack, Horner, lady Fidget, Company
  • "Come Tomorrow" (reprise)- Alithea, Harcourt, Quack.
  • "A Little Time in the Country" - Horner, Quack
  • "The Master Class" - Horner, Margery.
  • "One Of You" - Horner, Lady Fidget, Dainty, Squeamish.
  • "Vengeance" - Full Company.
  • "The Master Class" (reprise) - Horner, Lady Fidget, Dainty, Squeamish, Margery.
  • "We Thank You/Lust" (reprise) - Full Company.
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