Published by SeaQuake Books
Copyright 2016. Phil McNulty
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
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Ringo Starr as: Himself
John Lennon as: Himself and Simon Cowell (masquerading as SiCo and Uncle Tommy).
Paul McCartney as: Himself and Widow Crocky, a Liverpool washer woman.
George Harrison as: Himself and Dingle Belle, Widow Crocky’s daughter.
2. STAGE SETTING
Upstage right centre is a wall, at an oblique angle, eight ft wide by ten ft high with a window and shutters. A dustbin on one side of the wall. A chair on the other. Fifteen feet from the wall, at upstage left is a pole. There is a washing line hung between the pole and the wall.
The end of 1966
A one act Pantomime in six continuous Scenes. The Beatles may be in decline and are desperate for ideas to impress manager Brian Epstein. Ringo is derided for his suggestion that he may contribute to song writing and even more so for suggesting a pantomime. The Panto is, nevertheless, inevitable and Ringo becomes involved in a quest with the evil SiCo, Simon Cowell, to find the source of all popular music. John, Paul and George play classic Panto roles, each appropriate to his character. The Beatles music, to date, is referenced in each scene and the finale is a medley of Beatles music yet to come. A benevolent Genie dispenses wit and wisdom throughout.
MUSIC(‘Penny Lane’ is playing before The Beatles come on stage. John (carrying a football) and Paul enter from Stage left and George and Ringo from stage right. The wall is in the background. John and Paul towards the front. George and Ringo further back.)
John: Aright lads. Do yer wanna kick a ball. (kicks it to Paul)
Paul: Aye okay John. But do yer think this’ll make any material difference to our future careers.
(Paul passes the ball to George and Ringo who pass it between themselves.)
John: (Hands on hips. Domineering.) Well it won’t to you Paul cos yer rubbish and pretend to support all sides even though the McCartneys are all blues. Whereas I’ll be playing for the reds one day. Just you watch.
George: What about the music John? You know, The Beatles. We’re The Beatles. You can’t just go and play for a footie team.
John: Well we’ve all had Brian’s letter George. He thinks we’re going downhill. He wants us to come up with some bright idea to follow ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ and ‘Help’. He thinks we’ve peaked. Well stuff him. If I want to be a footie player I’ll be a footie player.
Paul: Come on John. Brian was having a bad day when he wrote that. Look what we’ve done in the last couple of years. Help, Beatles for Sale, Revolver and Rubber Soul. It’s not bad is it? We just need to talk to him. Let’s write some new material.’
Ringo: (Stepping forward). I could write some songs if you want lads. I’ve got a few ideas.
John: (Scornfully) You! You Ringo! What could you write?
Ringo: (Embarrassed. Comes to front of stage. Speaking to audience). Well lads, I had an idea about an octopus’s garden.
(John, Paul and George break into spontaneous, knee trembling laughter. They try to support each other pointing at Ringo in derision, coughing and spluttering comments about his idea…….‘octopuses hahaha octopuses. Squid mowing the lawn hahaha. Calamari in the flower beds hahaha. Ringo writing hahaha. Not after yellow submarine hahaha. Oh my God hahaha.’)
Ringo: (Trying to please) Or I’ve got another idea. We could do a pantomime.
George: What about the music Ringo? You know, The Beatles. We’re The Beatles. We can’t just go and appear in Panto.
Paul: Yeh Ringo. We’re not just some washed up boy band you know. We’re not ‘C’ listers yet.
John: Yeh Ringo. Stick to what you do moderately well. Banging the drums. (Laughs jeeringly). I can just imagine it, Ringo in Wonderland, Ringo in Poundland, hahaha.
(Ringo is facing the audience. Head down. Forlorn. George steps forward(Downstage right) and prompts the audience…AAAAAAAH. And again AAAAAAAH. John and Paul react with surprise to the sound of the audience.)
Ringo: (To the audience) I think you want a pantomime don’t you boys and girls.
Ringo: I can’t hear you. Do you think we should do a pantomime boys and girls.
Paul: He’s gone mad. He’s talking to himself. Hey John. We should get him to a doctor.
(From offstage there is a booming voice…..)
I am the genie and here we go.
Fe Fy Fo Fum
I’ll put your troubles on the run.’
(There is the sound of rolling thunder. The Beatles cower together shaking with fear.)
George: (Shouting) This is all your fault John, getting us to use all that marijiwoojihuana and canarbis raisin. I think we should get out of here.
(John, Paul and George run from the stage).
(Ringo wanders back and forth dejectedly. Hands in pockets. Shoulders slumped).
MUSIC( briefly, Octopus’s Garden)
Ringo: This is all my fault boys and girls. If I’d kept my stupid ideas to myself this wouldn’t have happened. John’s right. I’m not good for much am I?
(George appears at the side of the stage(Downstage right) and prompts the audience…AAAAAAAH. And again AAAAAAAH.)
Ringo: No you’re just being kind. (Then animatedly)What we need is a bit of luck. I’ve got to think of something that will give Brian Epstein faith in us again. Then maybe John will stop picking on me. Because bullying’s not nice is it boys and girls?
Ringo: I can’t hear you boys and girls. Bullying’s not right is it?
Ringo: I’m going to find somewhere quiet to think until I come up with an idea to save The Beatles. (Moves off stage right).
(Offstage there is maniacal evil laughter and the ominous sound of thunder…Bm, bm, bm, bmmmm. A male figure(John as SiCo) enters(Centre stage left) wearing a black cloak. At first he moves at a surreptitious crouch but then sweeps around the stage laughing in a wild and evil manner. He moves to downstage centre and faces the audience.)
SiCo: (With unctuous charm) Boys and girls let me introduce myself. My name is SiCo and I am the villain of the piece. HaHaHaHaHa. I thrive on hissing and booing because I am evil. HaHaHaHa. My mission is to destroy The Beatles and destroy popular music. HaHaHaHa. I like small children but I couldn’t eat a whole one. HaHaHaHa. I am on a quest…..
(He sweeps around the stage laughing maniacally. Then returns to downstage centre facing audience.)
SiCo: Oh you’re still here are you. HaHa. (Moving his hands like a crones claws). Now what was I saying? Oh yes the quest. I’m on a quest…..(Suddenly stops moves from side to side at a crouch and shouts.) WHAT’S THAT NOISE! WHAT’S THAT NOISE! (Then accusingly) I can hear boys and girls breathing. Who is breathing? I hate breathing. Whenever I come on stage you must stop breathing. All you can do is hiss and boo or I will be very angry. I will make your mobile phones, computers, playstations, nintendos and Wii boxes disappear. Then you’ll be forced to PLAY OUT! HaHahaha. And TALK TO PEOPLE! HaHaHaHa.
(He sweeps back and forth across the front of the stage holding his cloak under his eyes like Zorro. He stops in the centre.)
SiCo: The quest! The quest is to find the source of all popular music and to destroy it so that boys and girls everywhere will have miserable lives. HaHaHaHa. The only music in the world will be mine. HaHaHaHa.
Audience: Booing and hissing.
SiCo: Yes I love it. Am I upsetting you. HaHaHaha.
(His manner becomes insincere and weedling).
SiCo: Now boys and girls I want to be your friend and I need someone to help me. So listen carefully to a secret. The source of all popular music is an oriental lamp. It comes from the mysterious east, somewhere like Wigan or St Helens. If you rub this lamp it produces fantastic music which makes people happy. AND I HATE IT! Because I want everyone to be miserable. HaHaHaHa.
Audience: Booing and hissing.
SiCo: So why do I need help, you miserable bunch of heavy breathers? Why have I come to Liverpool at all? For football? HaHaHaHa. I’m a Chelsea fan. haHaHaHa.
Audience: Booing and hissing.
SiCo: No my little Liverpool friends, I’m here because many years ago I was told that the magic lamp, the source of all popular music, is in a secret cavern guarded by two giant doormen, Albert Dock and Matthew Street and I’m going to find it so that I can destroy it. (Pointing at audience). HaHaHaHa.
Audience: Booing and Hissing.
SiCo: The reason I need help is because only a stupidly innocent person, with a head empty of ideas who just likes to laugh and joke can enter this cavern. That’s not me because I’m nasty and evil and my heads full of horrible ideas. HaHaHaHa. But I’ve heard that I might find just the simpleton I’m looking for in Liverpool. The sort of person who appeared on ‘Hold your Plums’. And that person could be sitting next to you right now. (He scans the audience). Go on. Go on. If you’re sitting next to a simpleton then tickle them in the ribs. HaHaHaHa.
(Audience tickles each other)
SiCo: I’m going to let you into another secret boys and girls. SiCo’s only my nickname. My real name…… (offstage there is the sound of maniacal laughter and thunder Bm,bm,bm,bm) HaHaHaHa. My real name is Simon Cowell. HaHaHaHa. (He throws off his cloak to reveal a black T-shirt and very high waisted trousers.) And I am going to destroy popular music FOR EVER! HaHaHaHa.
Audience: Booing and hissing.
MUSIC(SiCo exits stage left……. Offstage we hear Octopus’s Garden as Ringo enters stage right.)
Ringo: Hello boys and girls. Well I’ve been thinking and thinking and I can’t come up with any ideas apart from a pantomime and the others won’t want to do that will they? (He moves to downstage centre.) I just don’t know how we’re going to save The Beatles from obscurity. I’ll tell you what though boys and girls, I’ve had a lot of fun thinking about doing a panto. Here y’are, here y’are…..
Why was Cinderella such a poor footie player?
She had a pumpkin for a coach. HaHa.
What’s beautiful grey and wears glass slippers?
Cinderellaphant. HaHa. Do you get it Cinderellaphant.
What did Cinderella say when Asda lost her photos?
Someday my prints will come. HaHa.
Here’s another one…… Why did Dick Whittington have a beard?
Because nine out of ten cats prefer whiskers. HaHa.
To be honest boys and girls, I didn’t even make those up. Me Mam told me them. Sometimes I just think I’m so stupid. I’m an empty headed simpleton who just likes to laugh and joke aren’t I? (head down shoulders hunched).
(Offstage there is the sound of maniacal laughter and thunder Bm,bm,bm,bm. SiCo creeps, on like Nosferatu, from Upstage left. Moves to centre right.)
SiCo: HaHaHaHa. (Hissing at the audience.) What have we here. A simple fellow from Liverpool who might be just the thing I need to get my hands on the magic lamp. HaHa. (Hailing Ringo). Hey you simple fellow. I couldn’t help overhearing your troubles. Save The Beatles you say. Maybe I can be of help. What is your name?
Ringo: Ringo sir.
SiCo: It cannot be. Ringo. Little Ringo. My brother’s son? Ringo I am your long lost Uncle Tommy. Just back from America having made my fortune.
Ringo: (To audience). That’s odd. I’ve never heard of him. But everyone’s got an Uncle Tommy haven’t they so it must be true. What luck. Maybe he can help me.
SiCo: Of course I can help you my boy. I know the secret of the magic lamp that can restore all of The Beatles good fortune but I need your help in acquiring it. And once we have it your friends will have the inspiration to write popular music for ever and ever. All I need you to do is tell me where the cavern is and we can go there and get the lamp.
Ringo: (To the audience while SiCo prowls the stage malevolently.) This sounds fantastic. Almost too good to be true. But what should I do boys and girls? Should I trust Uncle Tommy and take him to the cavern. Should I?
Audience: No! (SiCo is spitting and hissing at them.)
Ringo: Well I don’t know. He seems ok to me. Do you think he’s honest and straightforward?
Audience: No! (SiCo is spitting and hissing at them.)
Ringo: Well you’ve been a great help. I always think it best to take advice don’t you. Come on Uncle Tommy, I’ll take you to the cavern. (To the audience). Well I am meant to be simple!
(SiCo and Ringo exit stage left. SiCo has his arm around Ringo and is cackling.)
(From offstage there is a booming voice…..)
Off Ringo and SiCo go
Into Liverpool’s cold and damp
To find an oriental lamp.
MUSIC(‘All my Loving’, (whole track) is playing as, from stage right, Paul appears as a pantomime dame in bulky dresses, Widow Crocky. He’s accompanied by George, also in a dress, as Crocky’s daughter Dingle Belle. The two carry in a laundry basket, put up a washing line and Belle starts pegging out clothing, dancing as she does so. Crocky supervises until she notices the audience.)
Widow Crocky: Hello boys and girls. I’m Widow Crocky and I’m your friend. So let’s hear you all say. Hello Widow Crocky.
Audience: Hello Widow Crocky.
Widow Crocky: This is my beautiful daughter, Dingle Belle. Ringo’s very interested in her but I don’t think he’s good enough. He’s a bit of a layabout.
Dingle Belle: What’s that you’re saying Mam? (Moving forward)
Widow Crocky: Nothing babe. I was just telling the boys and girls that I’ve been working so hard I’m absolutely knickered.
DingleBelle: Don’t you mean knackered Mam?
Widow Crocky: No Belle, knickered cos me breaths coming in short pants. Boom boom.
Dingle Belle: Do you know Mam that’s a nice dress. (Crocky preens herself). Are you hoping to slim into it?
Widow Crocky: I do can without your rudeness Belle. I’ve had a lot on my plate.
Dingle Belle: That’s why the dress doesn’t fit Mam.
Widow Crocky: Listen young lady. I take care of my appearance. You’re only as old as you look.
Dingle Belle: Nobody could be as old as you look Mam.
Widow Crocky: Hey, I’ve been told I’ve got good taste in clothes. I know how to dress.
Dingle Belle: Come on Mam. I’ve seen salad dressed better.
Widow Crocky: (To the audience) Now I know she’s only jealous. You like the dress don’t you boys and girls?
Dingle Belle: Like it! It’s absolutely terrible. It doesn’t suit you at all.
Widow Crocky: Well the salesgirl said it matched my eyes perfectly. (Fluttering her eyes.)
Dingle Belle: Well she was having you on Mam. The colour doesn’t look like bloodshot at all.
Widow Crocky: Anyway I got it for a ridiculous figure.
Dingle Belle: You can say that again.
(Offstage there is the sound of maniacal laughter and thunder Bm,bm,bm,bm. Crocky and Belle cling to each other as Ringo and SiCo enter stage left. SiCo gestures aggressively to the audience with his fist.)
SiCo: (To the audience) Stop breathing I can hear you. Stop it. (Waves fist).
Ringo: Hi Belle. Hi Crocky. This is my long lost Uncle Tommy. He’s going to help me restore The Beatles fortunes.
Widow Crocky: (sidling up to SiCo) Oh did I just hear mention of fortunes Ringo dear boy. Come here Tommy. I, Widow Crocky, am the most eligible young woman in Liverpool. Tell me about your fortune Tommy. Not that I need money Tommy. No, No. A successful independent businesswoman such as myself merely seeks emotional and intellectual stimulation. How much are you worth Tommy? Come on let’s see your chequebook. (She attempts to rifle through his pockets. Ringo and Belle are hand in hand staring into each other’s eyes.)
SiCo: Unhand me woman.
Widow Crocky: What would you say if I asked you for a kiss.
SiCo: Nothing. It’s impossible to speak and to laugh at the same time.
Widow Crocky: Go on. You know you want to whisper something soft and gooey in my ear.
SiCo: Oh, ok then. Cadbury’s cream egg.
Widow Crocky: Oh you are a one. But I like you. (She again tries to get into his pockets.)
SiCo: Unhand me I say. Have you no scruples?
Widow Crocky: I did have but the penicillin cleared them up.
SiCo: (Pushing her away he moves to stage right and addresses the audience.) Is everyone around here the same? Gibbering simpleton’s. As soon as I get my hands on the lamp I’ll be off to Lime St and on the first train back to London. (Waving his fist at the audience).Now that’s a proper place! (He Hisssssss at the audience before covering his face with his cloak and standing immobile).
Audience: Booing and hissing.
Widow Crocky: Ringo, come here now. There’s something strange about Uncle Tommy. I can’t quite put my finger on it.
Dingle Belle: That’s cos he wouldn’t let you Mam. You tried hard enough.
Widow Crocky: That’s enough of that Belle. Help me get this washing in. And you Ringo. You be careful.
(The two women move upstage and slowly dismantle the washing line while Ringo rejoins SiCo.)
SiCo: Just you and me now Ringo. The two people who are going to save The Beatles. All you have to do is lead me to this cavern place, get inside and find the magic lamp.
(They exit stage left while Crocky and Belle are taking down the washing.)
(From offstage there is a booming voice…..)
What our adventurers don’t know
Is the cavern is shut for the night.
And Ringo is in for a dreadful fright.
(Crocky and Belle exit stage right in fear, taking their basket, line and washing. The stage darkens.)
(Offstage there is the sound of maniacal laughter and thunder Bm,bm,bm,bm. SiCo and Ringo enter at upstage left.)
SiCo: It all seems very quiet Ringo. There aren’t even any doormen around. (He paces frantically across the stage and back apparently looking for signs of life.) I do not believe this. The place is shut. You idiot. It doesn’t look like it’s been open for years. This is all your fault. (He paces around the wall). How on earth are we going to get in. You live here. You should have known about this.
Ringo: Don’t get upset Uncle Tommy. We can find someone with a key tomorrow. Anyway, it’ll be an opportunity for you to meet me Mam and Dad after all this time. You can stay at our house.
SiCo: I can assure you Ringo that I will not be staying in this city a moment longer than necessary. (Hisses at audience). Now we are going to find a way into this cavern even if you die in the attempt.
Ringo: I don’t like the sound of that Uncle Tommy.
SiCo: (In great excitement). Here. Here. A window. What luck. Now come on Ringo. (He moves a dustbin to under the window). Climb up here.
Ringo: Ok Uncle Tommy. (Ringo climbs onto the bin and eases himself through the window.)
SiCo: What can you see Ringo? Can you see the lamp?
Ringo: I can’t see much Uncle Tommy. What does it look like exactly.
SiCo: What does it look like? It’s a magic lamp. Everyone knows what that looks like.
(Ringo can be seen on his hands and knees feeling his way around the room.)
Ringo: I don’t Uncle Tommy. I’ve never seen a magic lamp.
SiCo: Aaaaaagh (beating his head.) It’s got a handle and a sort of spout. It looks oriental and magical.
Ringo: I think I’ve found it Uncle Tommy. Shall I come back out now?
SiCo: (Rushing to the window.) No Ringo. You just pass it to me. We have to be very careful. Don’t rub it whatever you do.
Ringo: (Kneeling on the chair and passing the object through the window.) Here you go Uncle Tommy. I’ll be glad to get out of here it’s a bit scary.
SiCo: (Grabbing the lamp and closing the shutters on Ringo, leaving him trapped.) I’ve got it. HaHa. I’ve got it. (He walks to the front of the stage triumphantly and holds up the lamp for the audience to see.) Ha you miserable children, you puny people. You didn’t think I’d do it did you. Didn’t think I’d find the source of popular music so that I can destroy it and have world domination. Me Simon Cowell. I will be able to dictate what you listen to for evermore. HaHaHaHa. And now I will destroy this teapot before your eyes. This teapot will never again be a stimulus to musicians. This teapot……
(SiCo starts shaking and gibbering when he realises his mistake.)….Teapot. teapot. Teapot. Aaaaaaagh!
Ringo: Is everything all right out there Uncle Tommy. I can hear a lot of noise and I think I’m trapped in here.
SiCo: Oh, oh, oh, Ringo my boy, what has happened. Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Don’t worry. Uncle Tommy is here. We’ll have you out of there in no time. (He moves back to the wall and opens the shutters.) Now you just need to look a little more carefully Ringo. Look in all the corners. Just remember we’re looking for something like a teapot but not a teapot.
Ringo: (Scratching his head.) Like a teapot but not a teapot. Like a teapot but not a teapot. Ah, I wonder if this is it Uncle. (He picks up a lamp and holds it up to the window so SiCo can see it.)
SiCo: (Beside himself with excitement.) Yes, yes, The magic lamp. Pass it here Ringo. Give it to me now.
Ringo: Would it be safer if I came out with it Uncle then I won’t get trapped again.
SiCo: No, no, no. Are you mad. You only have to brush against the lamp and you will be consigned to a sleeping death from which only a beautiful princess can wake you.
Ringo: I like the sound of the princess Uncle but I’ve never heard of a sleeping death.
SiCo: You’ve obviously never been to Southport then Ringo. Look, just pass me the lamp you idiot. Pass me the lamp!
(Offstage the sound of Police sirens can be heard in the distance.)
Ringo: You won’t shut me in again Uncle will you? It’s scary in here.
SiCo: Just give me the lamp you idiot. Give me the lamp so I can destroy the Beatles.
Ringo: (In shock pulls back from the window.) But Uncle what does this mean? Why have you changed? Destroy The Beatles? That can’t be right.
(The sound of sirens is louder.)
SiCo: (Slamming the shutters closed.) You can stay there Ringo. Stay in that closed cavern. Nobody knows you’re there. Nobody will come to save you. They’ll probably demolish the place with you in it and the lamp. And that means I’ve got what I wanted. HaHaHaHa. (He turns to the audience and shakes his fist.) HaHaHaHa.
(Offstage there is the sound of maniacal laughter and thunder Bm,Bm,Bm,Bm. As SiCo makes his exit.)
(Ringo sits on the chair and talks to the audience.)
Ringo: Well boys and girls, I should have listened to you shouldn’t I. And I should have listened to Widow Crocky. Who would have thought that Uncle Tommy would turn out to be such a bad man. I thought he liked me and was going to help me. And now I’m stuck in this disused club with nothing to eat or drink and no way of getting out. All I’ve got for company is this old lamp. What am I going to do?
(From offstage there is a booming voice…..)
Don’t be downhearted Ringo
This is a panto. You can’t be tragic
Have some faith in a little magic.
You need a word to open the shutters
Ask them out there, the little blighters
Might help a man like you
By sharing a magic word or two.’
Ringo: (Standing up) Is that right boys and girls. Do you know any magic words? You do. Shout them out and let’s see if any work.
(Audience shouts out suggestions………Ringo tries them out. If none are proposed he tries ‘Rumplestiltskin’ and ‘Abracadabra’. Pushing on the shutters each time. Finally he uses ‘Open Sesame’ and the shutters open easily.)
Ringo: Oh, thankyou boys and girls. That was really great. You’ve saved my life. I’m going straight round to see Belle and ask her to marry me. (Climbs out of the window to the sound of Octopusses Garden and exits stage left.)
(Offstage there is the sound of maniacal laughter and thunder Bm,Bm,Bm,Bm as SiCo steps in from the wings Downstage left.)
SiCo: HaHaHaHa, you thought you’d all fooled me didn’t you children. You and that village idiot of a friend of yours Ringo and the big fat genie of the lamp.
(From offstage there is a booming voice…..)
Is that really so.
Well Mr Cowell if the cap fits
But you’re the one with his pants round his armpits.
(SiCo trembles fearfully at the sound of the genie, then opens his cape to hoist up his trousers.)
SiCo: HaHaHaHa. I’ll have the lamp, just you wait and see. Then I’ll have power, do you hear me? Power. HaHaHaHa.
(Offstage there is the sound of maniacal laughter and thunder Bm,Bm,Bm,Bm, as SiCo exits stage left.)
MUSIC (‘Eight Days a Week’ is playing as Widow Crocky enters stage right (wearily) with a basket. She places it near the washing line. She then moves to downstage centre to address the audience.)
Widow Crocky: Hello boys and girls. It’s me again. Widow Crocky. What do you say? Hello Widow Crocky. Hello boys and girls. Now I’ve been having a few problems with Belle since we last saw you. She’s been very upset since Ringo went off with his Uncle and now I’m afraid she’s run away from home. So I’m going to ask you for your help boys and girls. I need to find Belle so if you see her I want you to shout out THERE’S BELLE. I’m so worried…………
(Belle enters stage right and stands stage right of Crocky.)
……….and I’ve got all this washing to hang up and so much to do…..
Audience: There’s Belle!
Widow Crocky: (Turning stage left then behind her) Now that’s very naughty boys and girls. Tricking Old Crocky like that. She’s not here at all is she?
Audience: She’s there. There’s Belle. (Belle moves behind Crocky to Stage Left.)
Widow Crocky: (Turning stage right then behind her.) Now stop that boys and girls. You’re making me very tired. I’m going to get upset in a minute.
(Belle moves to centre stage directly behind Crocky.)
Audience: There’s Belle. She’s behind you.
Widow Crocky: You can’t fool Old Crocky. I’ve already looked everywhere. Where can she be.
Audience: She’s behind you.
Widow Crocky: (Flustered. Looking in all directions but behind.) Where? Where? I can’t see her.
Audience: She’s behind you.
Widow Crocky: (Turning around.) Oh Belle, Belle I’ve found you. (Moves to her and hugs her.) Thankyou so much boys and girls for helping me. And as for you young lady where exactly have you been. (They move to downstage centre.)
Dingle Belle: I’ve been to the optician’s Mam. He told me I was colour blind.
Widow Crocky: Oh no Belle that must have been a terrible shock.
Dingle Belle: Oh, It was Mam. It was like a bolt out of the orange.
Widow Crocky: A bolt out of the orange? Oh she’s having me on isn’t she boys and girls?
Dingle Belle: Hey Mam, can I ask you a question?
Widow Crocky: Anything you like darling. What is it?
Dingle Belle: Well you never told me what happened to me Dad. What did happen?
Widow Crocky: (Drying her eyes on her skirt in mock upset.) It’s a terrible story Belle. He fell into a huge vat of Nescafe and was never seen again.
Dingle Belle: Oh how sad.
Widow Crocky: Yes Belle, but at least it was instant. (Shakes her head mournfully.) Do you know Belle I did everything for that man. When he was ill I used to rub grease all over his back to make him feel better.
Dingle Belle: Did it work?
Widow Crocky: Not really. He went downhill even faster….He was always doing stupid things your Dad. I said to him, I want to live in a more expensive house. You know what he did?
Dingle Belle: What Mam?
Widow Crocky: He got the landlord to put the rent up (Shakes her head.) When your brother Darren was younger Dad would get really annoyed by him. He said, Darren how old are you? And Darren said five Dad. He said, you ought to be ashamed of yourself son. When I was your age I was ten. (Shakes her head.)
Dingle Belle: Oh I know Mam. He could be difficult. Do you remember when I asked him for an encyclopedia?
Widow Crocky: What did he say?
Dingle Belle: He said, No you can’t have one. You can walk to school like all the other kids.
Widow Crocky: Doesn’t surprise me at all. Do you know he used to make me get up at six every morning to feed the chickens. I really hated him for that.
Dingle Belle: Why Mam?
Widow Crocky: We didn’t have any chickens.
MUSIC(Offstage there is the sound of Octopus’s Garden as Ringo enters carrying the lamp.)
Ringo: Hello Crocky. Hello Belle.
Widow Crocky: Oh hello Ringo. We thought you’d disappeared. What happened to that unpleasant uncle of yours?
Ringo: Unpleasant Crocky? I thought you took quite a shine to him.
Widow Crocky: Me? Me? I’ll have you know Ringo that I’m a completely chaste woman. (Then to the audience.) But not chased as often as I’d like.
Ringo: Well Crocky, I’ve got some great news. I think I might have made my fortune and saved the Beatles. I’ve found the source of all popular music. And I want to marry Belle.
Widow Crocky: (With sneering derision and hands on hips.) You MIGHT have made your fortune! The SOURCE of all popular music! What have I told you about hanging round with those Grammar school boys Ringo. They’re into all sorts of things and some of them even like poetry! Now you help Belle put the washing on the line then go and fetch another basket.
(Ringo and Belle start putting the washing on the line.)
Widow Crocky: (To the audience.) Do you know boys and girls I think about money an awful lot don’t I?
(Music filters in ‘Money that’s what I want’, and Crocky does a lascivious dance raising her hands skywards as though grasping for notes and coins. Ringo and Belle have pegged out socks and underwear and are now pegging out twenty pound notes.)
Ringo: Hey Crocky (Music fades.) what’s all this? What kind of laundering are you doing here?
Widow Crocky: (In some dismay.) Oh, Oh, Oh, how did they get there? Stop that at once. Now off with the two of you and get another basket of washing. Go on. (She moves towards the washing line.)
Ringo: Ok Crocky. But will you mind this old lamp for me. Now take good care of it won’t you. (hands over the lamp.)
Widow Crocky: Yes, yes, yes. Go on with you……..
(Ringo and Belle exit stage right. Crocky places the lamp on the floor and wipes her hands on her pinafore. She starts unpegging the money from the line, addressing the audience.)
……….Well boys and girls what’s a lady to do? The laundry business isn’t what it used to be you know with all these high speed washing machines around. And then I heard of this other type of laundering and I thought if tanning salons and taxis and flower shops are doing it why shouldn’t a laundry be doing it. To be honest boys and girls what I need is a rich man to take me away from all of this.
MUSIC (‘Can’t Buy me Love’, full track, is playing as Crocky dances while she unpegs the money. While she is absorbed SiCo enters from downstage left.)
SiCo: (Waving his fist at the audience.) HaHaHaHa. These fools. They thought they could outwit SiCo. Watch now how I get the lamp from this foolish, greedy woman. HaHaHaHa.
Audience: Booing and hissing.
SiCo: (Loudly) Is that not the beautiful Widow Crocky I see before me? (He moves to Centre. Music fades.)
Widow Crocky: Oh Tommy you’ve come back for me. (To the audience, preening herself.) I knew you would. How could any man resist all this? (Running her hands over her ampleness.)
SiCo: Of course I came back. I heard that you were a good cook and I wanted to get my hands on your dumplings.
Widow Crocky: (Coquettish.) Oh Tommy? You are naughty. Do you know you’re just the type of man I’m looking for.
SiCo: Oh. What type of man is that?
Widow Crocky: (To audience) Well you’re breathing for a start. Do you like my perfume, it’s Coco Chanel?
SiCo: (To audience.)I don’t know about Cocoa. It smells more like gravy browning.
Widow Crocky: But Tommy, isn’t there a problem with us being together. You being a rich man and me a poor, ( to audience) although fabulously beautiful, washer woman.
SiCo: I haven’t always been rich Widow Crocky. In fact we were so poor we once had my mother in law for Christmas Dinner.
Widow Crocky: What was wrong with that?
SiCo: We would have preferred chicken.
Widow Crocky: Oh that’s very sad.
SiCo: I remember one year my parents couldn’t afford to buy me school shoes.
Widow Crocky: Oh no. What did they do?
SiCo: They painted my feet black and laced up my toes.
Widow Crocky: Oh how terrible. But tell me Tommy aren’t you worried we may be moving a bit quickly.
SiCo: Not at all. All my courtships are fast and furious.
Widow Crocky: Oh why’s that?
SiCo: (To the audience.) Because I’m fast and the women are furious. HaHa.
Widow Crocky: Oh how simply perfect. Do you know Ringo and Belle want to get married so we could have a joint wedding. How fantastic that would be.
SiCo: That would be simply perfect my dear. But first we must exchange gifts. I will give you this huge diamond engagement ring. (Which he produces from his coat with a flourish. At the sight of it Crocky lols her head and waves her arms in a kind of ecstasy.) And you must give me something in return.
Widow Crocky: But what can I possibly give you Tommy?
SiCo: Oh anything at all my dear. (To audience.) Just anything you have here and now will do.
Widow Crocky: Will these do? (Offering him a pair of knickers from the line.)
SiCo: Not really my love.
Widow Crocky: What about this? (Offering him a sock.)
SiCo: No. No good either I’m afraid. Perhaps if you had something old and metallic, of little value, that would do the trick. (He leers at the audience.)
Widow Crocky: Well I do have this filthy old lamp I’m minding for Ringo. (She produces the lamp.)
SiCo: Yes. Yes. That’s it. Give it here. Give it here now. It’s mine. It’s mine.
Widow Crocky: (Clutching the lamp to her.) Oh Tommy. I’m beginning to wonder if it’s me or the lamp you really want.
SiCo: Give me the lamp you absurd old hag. Give me the lamp.
Widow Crocky: (Coming to down centre and speaking to the audience.) What do you think boys and girls. Should I give him the lamp or should I look after it for Ringo as I promised? Shall I give him the lamp boys and girls?
Widow Crocky: Shall I look after it for Ringo boys and girls.
Widow Crocky: Sorry Tommy, even though I know you love me very much, (smirk to audience) I cannot give you Ringo’s lamp.
SiCo: Oh but you will my lovely because you want this. (He produces the ring at which Crocky goes into another ecstatic swoon.) This fabulous ring. (To the audience.) Won as a Bingo prize in a New Brighton arcade. HaHaHaHa.
Widow Crocky: Oh Tommy take the lamp. Just let me have that beautiful expensive ring. (To the audience as the ring and lamp are exchanged.) Well, boys and girls, what did you expect.
SiCo: HaHaHaHa, it’s mine, all mine. I have the power. You’ll have to listen to Little Mix, Steve Brookstein and James Arthur for the rest of your lives. HaHaHaHa.
(As SiCo sweeps around the stage with the lamp and Crocky admires the ring, offstage, there is the sound of maniacal laughter and thunder Bm,Bm,Bm,Bm.)
SiCo: (Moving to Down Centre with his cloak raised to his face like Zorro, he tries to intimidate the audience.) HaHaHaHa. I can have you locked in here. I can force you to listen to X factor rejects until your ears bleed. HaHaHaHa.
MUSIC(Offstage there is the sound of Octopus’s Garden. Ringo and Belle appear, upstage right, carrying a laundry basket.)
Ringo: What’s going on here? Crocky. Where’s the lamp.
Widow Crocky: (Hiding the ring. And pointing at Sico.) He’s got it Ringo. Your Uncle Tommy. He tricked me, didn’t he boys and girls. I tried to resist Ringo. Honestly I did.
Ringo: Uncle Tommy give me that lamp now. You trapped me in the cavern and left me there to die.
SiCo: Ha Ringo you puny man. I will crush you like a beetle. HaHaHaHa. (To the audience.) I’ve made a joke. HaHa. You will have to fight me for the lamp and in doing so you will die. Choose your weapons.
Dingle Belle: Oh Ringo no. It’s not worth it. I couldn’t see you injured. Please don’t fight over that old lamp.
Ringo: (Puffing himself up, chest out.) A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do Belle. Stand back. This could be messy.
SiCo: Oh get on with it you idiot. The quicker we start the quicker it’s all over for you. Choose your weapons. (He places the lamp on the floor downstage left.)
Ringo: Belle hand me my weapons for this great battle against evil for this fight to the death in defence of popular music.
Dingle Belle: Ringo, what on earth are you talking about.
Ringo: My weapons Belle, my weapons.
(Belle looks around in complete confusion and then approaches the laundry basket. She pulls out a tea towel and a sock, shakes her head sadly, and hands them to Ringo.)
Ringo: (Does a double take of the ridiculous tea towel and sock, then, in a commanding voice addresses Belle.) Thankyou Belle. Now hand Uncle Tommy his weapons.
Dingle Belle: Oh Ringo, don’t be so ridiculous.
(Belle goes to the laundry basket, fishes out another tea towel and sock and hands them to SiCo who immediately shouts ‘On Guard’ goes into a swordsman’s stance, teatowel arm extended, sock arm raised to the level of his ear and in this manner advances on Ringo in a series of attacking lunges. He accompanies this with regular HaHaHas. Ringo attempts to parry, flicking at him with his teatowel and occasionally with the teatowel and sock combined. In this manner the combatants circle the centre of the stage. Crocky and Belle are standing together terrified, giving encouragement to Ringo but despairing of him at the same time. There are a lot of Oh nos. Aaaghs. Whimpering and screaming from the two women. Ringo is clearly on the defensive and losing quite badly.)
Widow Crocky: (Stepping forward using her hands to form a T.) Stop! Time out gentlemen. Return to your corners.
(SiCo moves to downstage left and jeers at and sneers at the audience. Ringo moves to downstage right. He is clearly in a bad way. He is crouching down and Crocky and Belle are wafting him with towels.)
Ringo: What am I going to do boys and girls? I haven’t the strength to beat him. What can I do?
(From offstage there is a booming voice…..)
Boys and girls you already know
The way to beat the monster SiCo
Breathe loudly for as long as you can
That’s the way to hurt this evil man.
SiCo: (on hearing this jumps up.) Allez, allez, round two you miserable coward. (He attacks Ringo ferociously.)
(Ringo is backing away flailing at SiCo, stumbling around centre stage when Crocky to downstage left and Belle to downstage right face the audience.)
Dingle Belle: Come on boys and girls. You heard the Genie. Breath as loudly as you can.
Widow Crocky: That’s right boys and girls. All together. In….out. In…….out. In……out.
(The fight continues in the background with SiCo showing signs of distress. He puts his hands over his ears and staggers around the stage. He falls to his knees at centre stage left. Ringo continues to attack him with the tea towel and the sock.)
Dingle Belle: Come on boys and girls we’re nearly there. Try harder. Breathe louder.
(SiCo has fallen to the floor and Ringo swipes him a few more times before holding his hands in triumph.)
Ringo: I’ve done it. I’ve done it. I’m a dragon slayer. (Crocky and Belle dance around him.)
Dingle Belle: Three cheers for Ringo boys and girls. Hip hip hooray. Hip hip hooray. Hip hip hooray.
(Ringo collects the lamp and walks to down centre while the stage darkens and Crocky and Belle drag away the figure of SiCo exiting stage left.)
(Ringo stands facing the audience holding the lamp.)
Ringo: Honestly boys and girls I couldn’t have done this without you. You’ve been fantastic, but what am I going to do with the lamp now? I really don’t know. I just can’t think of anything at all. Maybe I’m really as daft as people say. But I’ve done some clever things you know. Oh yes. I taught my dog to say his own name. Do you know what his name was?….Woof. HaHa….I think I might get my intelligence from my Mam and Dad. We were quite well off you know. Oh yes. Real stars of the Dingle. (Puffing himself up). My parents were in Iron and steel. They were… honest. She ironed and he stole. Ha ha…But seriously, I didn’t always feel wanted at home. Like that time a fella came to the door and said he was collecting for Barnardo’s and me Dad tried to give him me and me sister. Terrible that. But do you know, honestly, I’ve always got meself into trouble. Like that time John was going out with a girl and I said…who was that lady I seen you with last night? And he said….You mean I saw. Because John’s always a bit like that. So I said….Sorry John. Who was that eyesore I seen you with last night. And he punched me on the nose. I just don’t understand the guy sometimes.
(There is a noise of voices offstage and John, Paul and George enter from centre stage right pushing, shoving and larking about.)
John: There he is lads. Ringo where have yer been lad? We’ve been worried about you.
Paul: Yeh Ringo there’s been some weird stuff going on while you’ve been away. Weird stuff. Big voices coming from the sky and mad laughter and like octopus sounds and someone playing some of our old hits really loud. I’ll be honest with you mate it’s all been a big distraction from me trying to make a material difference to my future career.
George: What about the music Paul? You know, The Beatles. We’re The Beatles. You can’t just go and have a future career if you’re a Beatle.
Ringo: Well that’s what I want to tell you about. This lamp…….
John: (Interupting) Never mind that Ringo. I want them (Pointing harshly at Paul and George) to tell you about the strange dreams they’ve been having while you’ve been gone.
Paul: (Embarrassed) No thanks John let’s leave it.
George: Yeh I’m not keen either. Let’s just move on hey.
John: No chance you two. Here you go Ringo. How about this. George dreamt he was your girlfriend Ringo. And Paul dreamt he was George’s Mam. Paul even tried to get off with me in his dream but I was having none of it. And George dreamt he was snogging you. Now what do you make of all that.
Ringo: (To the audience) Oh heck boys and girls this is all getting a bit confusing. I don’t know John, do yer think we might be spending too much time together.
John: Well it hasn’t affected me has it.
George: I thought you dreamt you were a nasty piece of work pushing everyone around and wanting your own way.
John: And your point is?
Ringo: Never mind all that lads. I’ve been on a quest to find this magic lamp. It’s the source of all popular music and The Beatles have to protect it. The only trouble is I don’t know how it works.
George: You don’t know how it works Ringo? Everyone knows how magic lamps work. You have to rub them. Give it here. (He snatches the lamp.)
Ringo: No George. Be careful. If you rub it you’ll have to move to Southport.
John: You mean the place where they stand the dead in bus shelters.
Ringo: (In a panic) Yeh, yeh. It’s too horrible. Don’t do it George.
Paul: Let’s all rub it at the same time lads then wherever we go we’ll all be together.
(They put their hands forward tentatively and start to rub the lamp.)
(Offstage there is a booming voice…..)
May you reap that which you sow
Share your talents here tonight
And the Beatles futures will be bright.
MUSIC (The lamp plays a medley of verses from future Beatles songs post 1966-
Lucy in the sky/ Across the Universe/ All you need is love/ Baby you’re a rich man/ Back in the USSR/ Carry that Weight/ Come Together/ The fool on the Hill/ Get Back/ Here Comes the Sun/ Hey Jude/ Lady Madonna/ Let it Be/ Maxwell’s Silver Hammer/ Revolution/ Something/ Octopusses Garden…..
……The Beatles dance and sing along, separately and with arms around each other. Ringo holds the lamp. When the music stops…..)
John: This is fantastic Paul. Do you think we could write stuff like this and make Brian really happy.
Paul, George, Ringo: with a little help from your friends John, with a little help from your friends.
MUSIC(They then all sing the final song, or at least two verses, ‘A little help from my Friends’, encouraging the audience.)
(Offstage a booming voice is heard….)
We hope you’ve enjoyed the show
It’s unlikely to win a BAFTA
But the Beatles lived happily ever after.
Bye Bye Boys and Girls. Bye Bye.
(THE BOYS TAKE A BOW.)
Other titles from the same author include-
'Extreme Headship- a case study in educational leadership and school improvement'
‘Darren and George’
‘One true thing’
Other titles from the same publisher include-
The Fringe Poetry Festival One
The Fringe Poetry Festival Two
The Fringe Poetry Festival Three
CQEC Journal, Inter-Agency Working
CQEC Journal, Regeneration in the North West
The Fringe Poetry on the Move Three
The Fringe Poetry on the Move Two
The Fringe Poetry on the Move One
CQEC Journal, building well-being at community level
in the North West.
The Fringe Poetry Cafe
A one act Pantomime, set in 1966, in six continuous scenes. The Beatles may be in decline and are desperate for ideas to impress manager Brian Epstein. Ringo is derided for his suggestion that he may contribute to song writing and even more so for suggesting a pantomime. The Panto is, nevertheless, inevitable and Ringo becomes involved in a quest with the evil SiCo, Simon Cowell, to find the source of all popular music. John, Paul and George play classic Panto roles, each appropriate to his character. The Beatles music, to date, is referenced in each scene and the finale is a medley of Beatles music yet to come. A benevolent Genie dispenses wit and wisdom throughout.