Cleopatra and the Beanstalk

A Pantomime.

Morris: “Bikle, you’re Jack, that turkey bastard is widow Clancy, Yolanda you’re Cleopatra and here comes venomous snake Johnson to bite your head off! Ho ho just my little joke, put the cleavers down Johnson. Johnson you can be the cow… I will be William Blake…And Buckle can be Swedenborg!”
Cast look at each other uncomprehendingly with the exception of Buckle who looks excited.
Yolanda: snaps at him, “Not now Buckle. Anyway, you are thinking of Emmenthal.” she shakes her head. “For god’s sake Morris, what are you talking about now? Nobody is going to come and see this nonsense!”
Morris: “That is where you are wrong my little chinchilla, it will be a capacity crowd! In fact it already is. Look! And every one of them an orphan, expecting a festive treat! One false move and I will burn them to death. I mean it will ruin their little Christmases. The scene is set by Swedenbourg’s vision; I had better help out here, mime the words goofy!”
Buckle opens and closes his mouth out of sync with Morris voice.
Swedenborg: “In the season of Christ and dread Mithras I beheld a vision of terrifying splendour. A queen dark of wondrous beauty reigned in a kingdom high near the firmament. A chorus of angels and devils wept to gain but a glimpse and Apollo himself would grant her any boon. I saw this queen fall and die, destroyed by a venomous beast or at least something in
the guise of one. Man’s interference brought this about and you shall witness this woe tonight, Look!”
Morris, now clad in some kind of hokey cod aegyptian get up strikes a dramatic pose, then suddenly bored rolls a cigarette and stares at the assemblage.
Morris: “Well get on with it then.”
Bikle looks around, clearly distressed. The rest of the cast stare at Morris. Bikle starts sidling towards the wings.
Morris (Booming) :”LET THE SHOW COMMENCE!”
There is a rumble as of thunder, stage lightning flashes, and a phalanx of Johnsons march onstage from stage left to the accompaniment of a bank of booming tympani drums and the brazen blaring of trumpets, magnificently arrayed as ancient aegyptian soldiers. Simultaneously, enter Simon stage right, dressed as comedic widow with ostensibly hilarious bloomers, which he displays as he peers around the auditorium.
Simon: “Ho h’excuse be boys and h’girls! Has adybody seen my h’daughty h’son h’Jack?”
The spotlight mercilessly picks out Bikle as he edges towards the curtains, and the cry surges from a thousand urchin throats:
Audience: “HE’S BEHIND YOU!”
Morris peers disapprovingly and launches the charred skull of a newsagent across towards Simon. A well-aimed blow cracks him on the side of the head and his ear begins to bleed profusely as he is knocked to the floor.
Audience: “Huzzah!”
Morris: “Where is that Turkey bastard, that was his line?”
The Turkey can be seen in the front row, with popcorn and a drink peering interestedly on at the proceedings
Clancy: “Really!? Blblblbp! Disgraceful act! Boo!”
Morris views this with a scowl
Morris: “Get up here this instant you Turkey bastard!”
And with a click of his fingers Clancy is standing in the bloody pool from Simon’s ear, as he lies there groaning.
Morris: “Remove the trousers and put them on now!” Morris booms.
With a much reluctant whisk, the cheerful trousers are in Clancy’s hands, they have a large bloody stain down one side.
Clancy: With disgust “Really, blblblbp, not my colour, where’s the wig” soon apart from the stain the Turkey looks quite the part. “blblblblp now who has seen my naughty son Jack?”
Bikle in the meantime would have escaped were it not for strong armed Johnson who having arrested his escape, upon this utterance flings him back onto the stage
Bikle: “Bohhhhh!” He lies in a heap for moment
Clancy: “Blblblblp I can’t hear you boys and girls!”
Morris: “What the devil do you mean you can’t hear them? There are hundreds of them yelling at the top of their voices. This pantomime will never get anywhere if we have to repeat everything all the time. They clearly stated that he is behind you. Are you bloody deaf woman?”
Clancy: “Blblplplp! No way to speak to a poor h’widow. I mean widow. If only my naughty son Jack was here to defend be. Blplpbp!”
Morris forcefully hand gestures that Clancy should perceive ‘Jack’. Bikle is sat down looking hard done by
Clancy: “Blblblblp, there you are Jack, woe is us blblblbllp, we have no money, and we’ve nothing to eat blblblblp, its ages since mummy had a hot sausage blblblblp! Really!”
A bowling ball strikes Clancy in the ankle
Morris: “Keep it clean you turkey bastard!”
Clancy: “Ow! Blblblblp we’ll have to sell Emmenthal the cow, Emmenthal where are you?”
Swedenborg’s ears prick up…
Enter a pantomime cow from both sides
P&P: “Uhuhuhuh allow us to be Emmenthal, Uhuhuhuh We mean moooo”
Says one whilst the other emits a noise more like “mwooaaaerk!”
Clancy: “Blpblblp! Two cows? Maybe we’ll get double cream eh Jack?”
The audience roars. Morris scowls, and ushers Friesian Johnson back to the wings.
Clancy: “Blpblp! Come on dow Jack, look lively. That cow is not going to sell itself. Off we go. Quickly now. Mummy needs her housekeeping!”
Strongarm Johnson propels Bikle across the stage and Emmenthal dutifully trots along behind him. The pyramid scenery is hoisted away and replaced by that of a rural marketplace. Bikle trudges forlornly onwards.
Bikle: “Ho God. Go on then. Does h’anyone want to buy dis cow?”
A man, who looks suspiciously like a shorter, stouter Morris, clad in a grey suit and a sheepskin coat approaches him with an ingratiating air.
Mr Cutler: “Ooh ee. Cow for sale is it? Bit shabby eh? Want to get shot of it sharpish eh? Quick sale? Tell you what, you’ve come to the right place, Dennis Cutler’s yer man.”
P&P: “Uhuhuhuh allow us to sell you this cow”
Says the cow. The audience laugh but Morris doesn’t find it funny. He sends strongarm Johnson to nonchalantly walk behind the characters as if a peasant; as he passes the cow he delivers a sharp blow to the head, half the cow collapses but the cow continues to speak.
P: “Uhuhuhuh get up Pete what’s going on?”
Strong arm walks back the way he came and the job is complete.
Mr Cutler: “Ooh eee errr… Bit of a lazy cow isn’t she?”
Bikle: with a sudden enthusiastic air “Dat’s do way to talk about by bother”.
Friesian Johnson: Sticking his head into the stage “Mwooaerk?” Not sure if he’s needed.
Morris: shouting “No Johnson, its ok ”
But Johnson doesn’t understand and trots over to Morris across the stage which infuriates him immensely. Morris has himself spotlighted and makes a brief speech
Morris: “Allow me to interrupt this transaction by interjecting an historical note. The Aegyptian climate was notoriously hard upon quadrupeds of the bovine variety, hence the lovely Cleopatra being forced to perform her ablutions in asses milk. The voracious Nile Crocodile was another hazard that lay in wait for unwary cattle that strayed into places they were not meant to go.”
He nods, the scenery lighting returns, and Hastily Disguised as a Nile Crocodile Johnson erupts from a clump of reeds and drops Friesian Johnson with a vicious right hook before dragging him offstage.
Mr Cutler: “Ooh weeeh. As I was saying, not much of a cow that is it? Appears to be bleeding quite a lot too. Not much of a market for them in this neck of the woods. It’s the crocodiles see? Tell you what, I’ll take it off your hands for whatever you’ve got on you.”
Bikle: “Be pay you? But this is by last fiver! And I’b supposed to take Clancy, I bean bother some beads!”
Mr Cutler: “Beans is it? Tell you what, I’ll throw in a few of these beans for the sake of narrative continuity, call it 5 quid, your cow and your shoes.”
Bikle: “By shoes?! By don’t think so.”
Mr Cutler: “Ooh haggling is it, right you are I’ll throw in your cloak and your Mam’s bloomers” whisk
Clancy: “Blblblblp by bloomers!”
Mr Cutler: Audience laugh “Ohh, worried about your bloomers are you missis? Tell you what, got a nice pair here. Only a tenner.”
Clancy: “Reeeaally! Blpblblp! Very well, just to protect by h’digdity! Take the money!”
Snatching the garment Clancy struggles into them hurriedly, managing at one point to get both drumsticks stuck in the same hole. Fuming, he hops away towards the wings,
Clancy: “Blpblblp! Hurry up with the money Jack! Mummy’s going to have a little lie down.”
Cutler casts an appraising eye over Bikle, who, now sans cloak is revealed to be wearing knee breeches and a stained t shirt bearing the logo of a long defunct software manufacturer.
Mr Cutler: “Yes? Can I help you there sonny?”
Bikle: “H’what? By beans!”
Mr Cutler: “Oh, want beans do you? That’ll cost you.”
Bikle: “But I’ve gived you by cow, by boney, by shoes and by cloak! I want by beads!”
Mr Cutler: “Well you’re not getting them are yer? Not unless you do us a sand dance.”
The music begins and Cutler starts the jaunty number ‘dance monkey dance'”
Mr Cutler: Singing “I may be a ruthless tinker, I may sometimes look askance, but when I see a fella with a stain bright yella, I say dance monkey dance,’ half talking half singing
‘I may be a dashing salesman, I may be as sharp as a lance, but when I see a juggins I don’t call him muggins, I say dance monkey dance.
What do reckon boys and girls do you want to see Jack dance?”
Audience: “Yaaaaay!”
Bikle: “Oh by god I’ dot dancing and dats dat!”
Mr Cutler: “Is that right sonny? Do you think he’ll dance for this boys and girls?” Produces a large whip
Bikle: “Ho by god” CRACK! ” Christ you’re bental oww!” Leaps around CRACK! CRACK!
Mr Cutler: “I may be a friendly merchant, I may take a trip to France, but if he gives me the pip I’ll get out my whip and what will I say boys and girls?!”
Audience: “Dance monkey dance!”
Mr Cutler: “I can’t hear you?!” CRACK CRACK
Audience: “Dance monkey dance!”
Mr Cutler: “That’s right! I’ll say dance monkeeyyy daaaaaaance!” stretches the last note out to a big finish Cracks the whip one Las time as Bikle leaps once more
Mr Cutler: “Now there’s y beans sonny! Bye boys and girls!”
Hurls the beans and fucks off hands in pockets. With clear whip marks Bikle picks up the beans.
Bikle: “Mummy I got de beads” he exits stage left and the scene is rearranged to Jack s house with the Turkey doing the dishes
Clancy: “Blblblbllp tum te tum I do like working up a lather with a rubber glove on blblblblp! Oh hello there boys and girls! Why here’s by son Jack everybody! He’s been to sell our cow and bring home some money so we can buy some food and get off the h’emergency h’credit! Blplblp! How much did you get?” Bikle extends his hand.
Bikle: “Look! Magic beads!”
All at once Widow Clancy seems to shrink in on herself, she looks haggard and worn down by care and drudgery.
Clancy: “Magic beans? Magic beans?”
Hanging her head over the sink she begins to sob brokenheartedly.
Clancy: “Magic beans! And I did SO want to taste real tea once more before I died. When I was young, we used to have SUCH nice things…” Overcome she continues to weep. “God knows I try
so hard. And, and you bring me magic beans!” She straightens and wipes her eyes on her apron. “I just don’t know what ever shall become of us. It’ll be the workhouse for me, and a cold pauper’s grave. I’m just so glad that your poor dear father didn’t live to see what a failure you’ve become. Now there was a real man! Blplblblp! So vigorous, virile…”
Clancy’s eyes have a fond, misty faraway look; he leans back against the stove and stretches luxuriantly, smoothing down her petticoats with a rhythmic, caressing motion.
Clancy: “Oh yes, when that man kissed you, you stayed kissed. And when he would grab you, with those strong, rough hands, and pull you in close… You knew that you were a woman, oh yes.”
Bikle: Looking nauseated and breaks in on the Turkey’s erotic reverie. “Berrr, yes well dat’s very dice of course, but what about these beads?”
With a contemptuous toss of her artificial curls Clancy dashes them from his hands, sending them flying out of the cottage window.
Clancy: “Oh as if I gave a fig for your damned beans! Now off to bed with you! Blpblplp!”
Flourishing her broom, she chases him offstage and the curtain descends for the interval. Enter Simon with a bandage on his ear
Simon: “Ho h’intermission, h’ice creams h’anyone? How about you sir?”
To Morris in a chair near the edge of the stage, staring into space.
Morris: “What eh? Hmm any funny feet? Oh ho ho I see you have!” changes Simons feet to ice cream feet
Simon: “Hohhhh!” Slips over “Any lucky children want to come down for ice cream?”
Two urchins approach the area
Morris: “Tuck in kiddies!”
They eat Simon’s ice cream feet.
Simon: “Ho get off me h’you two!”
But they don’t, and Simon drags himself away feet oozing strawberry sauce.
Morris Claps his hands “Enough! Get on with this drivel!”
The stage relights with a rather phallic looking beanstalk in the set. Jack is just waking.
Bikle: “Oh by god, look at de size of dat?! Bother! Bother! Wake up, see what’s happened!”
But mummy is snoring asleep
Bikle: “Huh worthless failure eh? Bi’ll show her, I’ll climb dis beanstalk and see where it goes. Dow I dod’t dow where dis beadstalk goes, so I better be prepared eh boys and girls? Here’s by spare cloak in case it gets chilly, band I’ll pop a bit of kedgeree id dis pot id case I’b dot back id tibe for lunch. Dow, let’s get od with dis badventure!”
He creeps quietly out of the house past where Widow Clancy is sprawled snoring like a carthorse amongst a litter of empty bottles of Bulgarian Cabernet Sauvignon. Staring up at the mysterious growth Bikle is impressed and pauses for reverie.
Bikle: “By by children, dat is rather large isd’t it? Id fact bit albost rebinds be of something…”
He is interrupted by something that looks like a coconut bouncing off the back of his head.
Morris: offstage: “Ram a sock in it Gaylord, and get up that tree before I lose me temper.”
The coconut appears to sprout legs, and skitters away chittering. Bikle shrugs and begins to awkwardly climb the beanstalk. Fortunately for him, the giant plant has grown in such a fashion that it can be climbed in much the same manner as one would ascend a common ladder. Even so the sight of him huffing and puffing his way up the stem, his scrawny limbs wrapped around it brings a wave of laughter from the audience. One particularly witty urchin shouts
Urchin: “I’m only a poor old orphan, what ain’t no good at rhyme, but when I sees a sight like that, I shouts…” “CLIMB, MONKEY CLIMB!”
The audience laugh and squeal, but Morris is not happy.
Morris: “Stop!” Shouts “Who said that?” Silence “I said who said that?”
The urchin raises his hand.
Morris: “Johnson!”
Johnson retrieves the child and brings him to the stage
Morris: “Do you know what you have done sonny?”
Urchin: “Errr no mister, what?”
Morris: “What has he done ladies and gents?” Silence “You have transgressed the unwritten law!!!”
The stage looks dark and menacing Bikle clings on above
Morris: “You have two options, will you a) sign a three year contract with IBM? Or b) roll the wagon wheel of fate or c) open the box?”
Yolanda looks on from the wings horrified and despairing, gesturing that he should take a tablet, he pays no heed.
Morris: “What will it be sonny?”
The child has no idea what is going on but understands the words ‘wagon wheel’
Urchin: “Wagon wheel mista!”
To everyone’s relief Morris produces a wagon wheel.
Morris: “Ho ho there you go sonny, now be of with you before I burn you to death! Johnson one more peep out of this ‘un and activate the under seat incinerator!”
The audience clap as the urchin returns to his seat.
Bikle: From above “Can I ged on with it Dow Borris?”
Morris: “But of course Climb! Monkey! Climb!”
The audience laugh but there is a burst of flame from somewhere in the stalls and some screaming. Bikle ascends the beanstalk and the set changes again. A sinister grey misty region is unnervingly portrayed on the set. Strange shapes flit behind Bikle
Bikle: “Yikes! Dis place gives be de willies! Eh boys and girls? Ho what’s dat over dere, it looks like a castle?”
The mist swirls and twists, reflecting the cold moonlight. Away in the distance an eerie howl echoes back from the crags. Bikle pulls his cloak closer around his bony shoulders and sets off towards the castle. A bitterly cold rain begins to fall, the wind driving the drops into his face like icy needles. After what seems like an age he approaches the looming keep across a dilapidated wooden bridge. With hands chilled to the bone, he raises the curiously wrought knocker and lets it fall against the weathered nail studded door. A mournful thud echoes through the night. After an age the door swings open with a sepulchral groan. A grand hall, dimly lit by guttering candles lies in front of him. Smashed bottles lie everywhere. Tattered tapestry hangings flutter in the icy breeze. The air is heavy with dust and a pervasive scent of onions. Shivering, Bikle steps hesitantly forward. Instantly the door slams shut behind him with a note of finality. The gust of air causes the candles to
flare up briefly, revealing a central passageway leading off the hall, flanked by two cobwebbed staircases.
Bikle: “Berrr, hello? Adybody hobe?”
The only answer is a mocking echo… “Body hobe, hobe, hobe, hobe…” He walks into the centre of the great hall, staring into the gloom, searching for any sign of life. He feels something brush his shoulder. Whirling, he comes face to face with Ancient Retainer Johnson, who motions him to silence. Johnson opens his beak, but instead of the expected feeble”Mwaeerk”, Morris’ unmistakeable voice booms forth.
Johnson(Morris): “Welcome traveller, to the gaudy palace of Mark Anthony, greatest of Caesar’s generals! Now, will you take A, the left hand staircase, B, the central passage, or C, the right hand staircase?”
Bikle: “Beer Bi’ll take de central passage eh boys and girls! Owww!”
The same coconut projectile strikes him on the side of the
Morris: “This is a fucking kiddies show Mickey Mouse, less of the filth, last warning savvy?”
Bikle: “Yes yes balright, so what’s up dis passage den?”
As we walks up the passage Morris begins to drone
Morris: ” As you begin to step up your chosen path a feeling of terror grips you, the paintings on the walls come alive and seem to grab you, ”
Pauses as disguised as an old painting Johnson grapples with Bikle, some others in jump suits join in.
Morris: “The ancestors of this ancient abode take you down below to the cells in where your fate will be decided.”
The curtain goes down, then comes up to the scene of a ridiculously dressed man with a knee length gaudy toga.
Comte de B.: “Eh eh what’s zat?”
He says seems to be saying to someone off the side of the stage, then seems to acknowledge what’s going on
Comte de B.: “Ah good evening ladies an gennlmen allow me to introduce ma self. I am Mark Anthony de Bersierneaux and zis is ma castle. Now boys and girls I’ve just ‘erd zat mon guards ‘ave caught someone trying to break in, ‘owever I ave another problem to attend to at the moment, apparently there is a ghost around ere and I am quite sheeting ma owwww!”
Morris: “Fucks sake can’t you monkeys keep it clean!”
Coco has bitten Alphonso’s leg badly
Comte de B.: “Ah Jesus Christ! Ow! So if anyone sees a ghost will you let me know boys and girls?”
On cue, a sinister white figure appears from a tall cupboard and gestures in a threatening manner. Delighted, the audience roar as one:
Audience: “HE’S BEHIND YOU!”
As Marcus Alphonso whirls round, the spectre nimbly jumps back into the cupboard, only to reappear just as promptly when he turns back to face Bikle, who has inexplicably appeared.
Comte de B: “Ah, no ‘e eeesn’t!”
Audience: “OH YES HE IS!”
The cupboard business is repeated,
Comte de B.: “Ah no, no ‘e eeesn’t!”
The urchins bellow back that assuredly he is. Rattled, the Comte shouts back.
Comte: “No ‘e fucking eeesn’t! Zere’s nossing zere you leetle fuckairs!”
This time Coco goes for the throat. In the ensuing confusion the ghost picks up an empty Bersierneaux bottle, weighs it thoughtfully, then brings it down on Alphonso’s head. With Coco still worrying at his throat, the Comte goes down like a polled ox. At this moment Bikle is hurled (by Johnson no doubt) into the stage from the wings. The ghost immediately grabs Bikle’s arm and rushes him down a passageway.
Bikle: “Ho dow! Wait a bobent!”
Ghost: “Zere ees no time to wait M’sieur! Zat fuckair Alphonso ‘as gone, ow you say?”
The ghost, who in the brighter light of the corridor is clearly a man dressed in a tattered bed sheet, pauses to listen to the shrill screams coming from the room behind the door and continues carefully,
Ghost: “Fleepeeeng batsh… errr, batpoo? Crackairs. Mental. Anyway ‘opefully ‘is adventure ends ‘ere. Now quickly M’sieur! In ‘ere!”
Like lightning he whisks the bewildered Bikle through another doorway into a dank, low ceilinged structure, redolent of bruised allia. Despite still being clad in his ragged sheet, and smoking a very thin rolled up cigarette, his manner is strangely impressive as he announces in a tone laden with awe,
Ghost (Leonard): “Ze Onion Press Room!”
The orchestra strikes up once more
Leonard: “So you see m’sieur, what is right ere, is a place of ancient fable, and in this this gloom you will meet your doom, Yes! Down in the onion press room!”
Reaches for him suddenly and maniacally
Bikle: “Cripes another dutter! Relp ged be out of here!”
Leonard: “Zere is no where to flee, m’sieur can’t you see, you can run as best as you are abl’ but you’ll be just a mess when I ‘ave you in the press, Yes, down in the onion press room!” Catches Bikle by the cloak, ” what you you rackon enfants, shall I press ‘im? ” points to a dark strangely familiar looking pressing device.
Audience “Yaaaay!” Screaming the children.
Bikle looks out and for a second fancies he sees not children but hundreds of screaming demons
Bikle: “Ho by god, wake be up I bust be dreebig!”
Leonard is dragging him to the device.
Leonard : “So you’ll be jus’ fine, as a drink, like wine, but made of an alium root, but I won’t press l’onions, I’ll press your, errr, bunions, Down! Come ere fuckair! down in ze onion press room!”
Is about to push him into the device when there is a female voice from off stage
Cleopatra: “What are you doing down there Leonard? Have you see Marcus? Come up here at once!!!”
Leonard: “bah! You’ll have to wait Jacque! I’ll deal with you later!”
Locks the room and leaves. Bikle is left alone in the onion press room…
Bikle: “Ho god. Dow I’ll dever find any treasure. Left to stew id by owd juice id a dudgeod, waitig to be bangled by a Fredch ghost. Bother was right. I’b a failure!”
Slumped in despair, his despondent gaze falls on a small oubliette.
Bikle: “Do, it’s hopeless. I’d deed to be tiny to fit through dere. Wait a bobent! Bi’ve had an idea!”
Jumping to his feet he rummages in his breeches, pulls out a scrap of paper and a stub of crayon. Quickly scribbling something, he starts shouting.
Bikle: “Bearded Clab! Pissflaps! Bagidal bucous!”
Right on cue a small spherical shape hurtles towards him, but Bikle is ready for him and he deftly catches the familiar.
Bikle: “Wait a binute Coco! Your bunkle Jack deeds a favour. Take dis dote and fetch help, and Bi’ll give you dis h’valuable h’odiod!”
Coco appears to consider the deal, then snatches paper and onion and disappears through the oubliette. Bikle looks smug and settles down to await rescue. Time passes, represented by Symbolic Johnson tearing pages off from a calendar. The door to the Onion Press Room is thrown open and a familiar figure enters.
Buckle: “Ball right dere Bikle! Bi got your dote ad cabe as quiqly as I could.” He walks in slamming the door behind him. “Dow what’s der probleb?”
Bikle: “Buckle! The door! You brass bound ditwit!”
Buckle: Looking downcast. “Ho. I thought you’d be pleased!”
Bikle: “But dow we’re both locked in, and we’ll both end up getting bangled!”
Buckle: “Boh, dod’t worry about dat. Bi’m sure that Leodard will b’unlock the door id a bobent. Bi saw hib headig dis way just dow.”
Bikle: “Ho Jesus fucking Christ!”
There is a growling noise at his feet, Bikle looks down and sees You Know Who, claw outstretched demandingly.
Bikle: “Ho leave it out Coco. I’b dot bade of bloody odiods you dow.”
Buckle: Perking up. “Ho, but you could be!”
Bikle: “H’what?”
Buckle: “Bade of odiods! Hit’s simple, we bake a dubby of der odiods, dress it id your clothes and bescape while der dubby gets bangled! We could use dis large odiod for your head, ad dese striggy dried leaves for der hair!”
Bikle can scarcely believe the idiocy of the plan but has little else to offer.
Bikle: ” Ho god, ballright den, buildig a odiod effigy if byself it is”
Buckle: “And be!” Pipes up Buckle
Bikle: “Do! We don’t deed two, Leonard doesn’t even know you’re here”
Buckle: “What do you been? Dats how I got in here, You told be he’d locked you up so I asked hib where you were.”
Bikle: “Give be strength, so he knows we’re both in here?”
Buckle: “Frov course, said he’s od his way to bangle us in a binute!”
Bikle: “Ho god back to de odiod person, I bean people plan den, dis one can be de head”
Picks up a large very healthy looking onion, suddenly the onion speaks in a high pitched voice
Bath Sheba: “Who is it that disturbs the slumber of I Bath Sheba?”
Bikle: “Holy fuck a talking odiod!”
Hurling Bath Sheba into the air, Buckle catches the animated alium and screams too; comedically Bath Sheba is propelled back into Bikle’s arms. This goes on for some time. At length Bath Sheba is allowed to continue as the two brothers slump in the room
Bath Sheba: “Don’t be afraid, I’ve been hiding in here for years, trying to avoid being pressed into that awful drink that Cleopatra de Bersierneaux loves so much. Now you have found me, I can help you get out of here, as long as you keep me away from that thing!”
Coco is looking hungrily up at Bath Sheba
Bikle: “Why yes frov course Bath Sheba, ged away you little brute” Bikle kicks Coco off the stage, it rolls and skitters back to Morris “Dow what? We don’t have buch tibe?”
Bath Sheba: “Quickly then carry me to the top of the steps, and place me in front of the door, when Leonard opens the door he will trip over me and then you can feed him into the onion press”
Bath Sheba’s tone becomes thin and sinister at the end. Bikle looks disturbed, Bath Sheba: “quickly pretty ones take me to the top stair, he comes now he comes quickly”
Bikle hastens to the top step with the giant onion and places it accordingly. The door opens but a figure steps through
Comte de B: “Ah where are my guests let me tell you ow sorry I aaaaaaagh!” thump! bump! crump! It is of course Marcus Alphonso and not Leonard who crashes to the floor. Bath Sheba seems unperturbed
Bath Sheba: “Quickly into the onion press with him!”
Comte de B: “Ah non mes amis! You would surely not crush poor old Marcus? Ah know all ze secrets of zis chateau, ah can tek you to where zat usurper Leonard kips ‘is treasure!”
Bikle: Looking interested. “Ho, Treasure you say? Dow we’re gettig subwhere! Lead on!”
Bath Sheba displeased “Press him! Press him!”
Bikle: “Dot likely! Bi cabe here for treasure, ad treasure I bean to have!”
Comte de B: “Ah very waz M’sieur! We shall escape through zis secret passage!”
The Comte pushes a candlestick and a section of wall swings open.
Bikle: “Cub od den! Buckle, you brig Bath Sheba, h’what? Ho god.”
Buckle is naked save for a huge pair of undershorts and is proudly displaying an onion based facsimile of himself.
Bikle: “Ho Christ. Leave that bloody thing alode and get a bove od.”
Buckle: “Ho, but I think it’s cute. Can’t we keep it?”
Leonard: “Ere! What eez zees? All of you get in zat Onion Press immediatement!”
Leonard, still for some reason sporting his discredited ghost disguise, appears at the top of the stairs.
Audience: “HE’S BEHIND YOU!” roar the audience, glad of something that they can vaguely comprehend.
Comte de B. “Ah mes amis, queeek!”
cries Alphonso. Leonard charges down the stairs, takes a headlong flyer over Bath Sheba and collides with Onion Buckle.
Leonard: “Ah’ve got you know you fuckair! Into ze press with you!”
He drunkenly wrestles the badly constructed figure onto the conveyor belt and frantically starts winding the handle. A stench of crushed onions fills the room.
Bath Sheba shrieking “My babies! Press him! Press him!”
Alfonso, Bikle and Buckle make for the secret passage, Leonard attempts to give chase, but appears to have gotten his sheet trapped in the mangle.
Leonard: “Aaaah fuckeeeng sheet!” There is a chittering sound and Coco bounces off his head, sending him toppling into the Mangle.
Audience: “Press him! Press him!”
The handle spins, and Leonard is drawn into the rollers and disappears with a final
Leonard: “You fuckair Alphonso! Ah’ll get you for theees!”
As his vital essence is drawn from him by the Mangle of Koth Hotep, Bath Sheba swells and begins to pulse with an unearthly luminescence. As she does so a terrifying scream emits from her.
Bath Sheba: “Aieeeeeeeeee, freeeeee, soooonnn! Press just one more, one mooooooreee!”
Bikle: “Cripers Buckle did you hear dat? Dis odiod is as bental as de rest of dem?”
Bath Sheba: “Take me with you, take me with you, give the queen to the press and I shall be free and then you will have all the treasure you waaaant!”
The screaming onion is so demanding, Bikle obligingly picks it up, as he does so he notices the sheet of Leonards that must have gotten spat out the other side of the mangle relatively unharmed.
Bikle: “Ho Buckle, you can wear this, since your clothes seem to be ruined”
Buckle: “Barvellous!” Buckle puts the sheet on “Woo look at be Bikle I’b a ghost!”
The Comte though is disturbed
Comte de B. “Aaaaah a ghost again look eets behand you!”
Bikle: “Do do Comtey, dat’s just Buckle in a sheet, Don’t worry about hib, I bean dot too buch anyway. Dis is looking better ad better, if we can ged de queen into de press, Bath Sheba will give us treasure and de Comte will lead us to Leonard’s treasure”
Bikle is clearly so pleased with the whole affair now that he has seemingly forgotten he’s in a pantomime.
Bikle: “Imagid what we could do Buckle, we could bove out of bothers squalid flat! Bi could get a dew amiga.”
But the Comte interrupts the reverie
Comte de B: “Quickly m’sieur, zis way or we will surely die!”
The party disappear down the passage and the curtain closes.
It reopens with the new set. Yolanda in full Aegyptian Cleopatra fig is sat on a deckchair with a cocktail in an onion a la classic pineapple. Aegyptian foot soldier Johnsons stand around, the painted backdrop is of the pyramids and a rather strange looking sphinx with a beak, the scene is bizarre not least as they are supposed to be in the Comte’s castle.
Cleopatra: “Leonard!” she calls , acting quite well “ Leonard where are you! I need another large Bersierneaux! Ooh that Leonard I tell you boys and girls, he’s always pissed!”
A jet of flame whooshes in from the side of the stage, Yolanda has to dive to avoid it but the deckchair and one Johnson is ablaze
Cleopatra: “Morris!” she yells
Morris: “You have been warned a million times” comes the booming retort “no more Mr nice guy!”
Johnson comes on with the fire extinguisher. The party of Buckle, Bikle, Marcus Alphonso and Bath Sheba arrive and huddle at the side, to represent they have not yet been noticed by Cleopatra.
Comte de B.: “There she m’sieur, ze queen of ze oignion beanstalk! I will attract her attencion, you sneak up behind her and whilst she is deestracted, push her into ze onion press!”
Bikle: “Berr dat’s ball very well but we left de bangle in press roob!”
Comte de B.: “Ah you are right m’sieur you’ll ave to go and fetch it, or maybe your colleague?”
Bikle looks at the ghostly Buckle.
Bikle: “Berr I’ll go, you hold Bath Sheba, back in a bobent!”
Morris: “That will not be necessary! The mangle is here. Indeed, the mangle is always here. It is both omnipresent in all times and dimensions and omnivorous in its dread hunger for souls! So get on with it, I’ve got a casserole in the oven.”
The mangle is mysteriously suddenly on stage.
Bikle: “Berrr, ok den, Comte, you distract the queen, Buckle, you distract Johnson, and Bi’ll burder de queed!”
Obediently the two clods set off on their mission; Buckle canters past the Johnsons waving his arms.
Buckle: “Wooo! Look at be Johdsod! I’b a ghost!”
Unimpressed, the guards point and jeer. Alphonso creeps up behind Cleopatra as Bikle pushes the Mangle of Koth Hotep towards them. He winks at the Comte to signal that now is the moment, however all is not as it seems.
Comte de B.: “Beware mon flowair of ze Nile!” cries Marcus Alphonso, “Caesar as despatched zese assassins to keel us!” Yolanda strikes an imperious pose. “Guards! Protect your queen! Sieze the intruders!” “Ho Bollocks. Quig Buckle! We’d better scarper! Let’s try ad find dat beadstalk!”
Morris/Anubis: “Not so fast!” booms Morris’ voice emitting from Anubis Johnson who ushers them back onto the centre of the stage
Bath Sheba: “Press them! Press them!” screeches the treacherous onion. Anubis Johnson reaches for them but Bikle hurls Bath Sheba straight at him Anubis: “Mwaaerkoof!” Anubis Johnson is winded and his mask slips down slightly rendering his appearance even more ridiculous. Bikle tries to nip round him but Nile crocodile Johnson is there to bar his way. In blind panic he runs back towards the throne area grabbing Bath Sheba back off the floor. Nearing the epicentre of action –the burnt deckchair, the Mangle, Cleopatra- Bikle poised above the mangle suddenly shouts.
Bikle: “Dobody bove or de odiod gets it!”
Curiously this is remarkably effective; Cleopatra longs to drink Bath Sheba, and immediately stays the guards from approaching closer.
Cleopatra: “Halt, if you give me Bath Sheba I will give you the treasure!”
Bikle: “Berr, balright brig be a bag of treasure and led be leave here unharbed wid…”
Buckle: “Don’t forget about be!”
Bikle: “Yes wid by Brother by suppose…”
Comte de B.: “Err excuse me, ma little petit champignion, let me fetch some treasure for eem, zen we can press Bath Sheba togezzer and drink ‘er essence!”
Bath Sheba: “Noooooooooooo, Nooooooooo!” Bath Sheba screams and pulsates “Press him! Press them! press someone, not meeeeeee!!!!”
Cleopatra: “Yes Marcus fetch these buffoons some treasure and let us feast on the Bersierneaux de Bath Sheba!!”
The Comte goes off the side and returns with a wheel barrow with a very large sack in it.
Cleopatra: “That’s far too much for them Marcus!! Give me the bag, I will allocate them some trinkets.”
Comte de B.: “But of course ma patisserie, ‘elp yourself”
He dumps the wheel barrow nearby and looks on smirking, Yolanda ungracefully unties the string on the bag. Who should leap out of course but ‘venomous snake Johnson’ who launches himself out of the bag at Cleopatra and stabs her in the neck with a hypodermic needle.
Cleopatra: `“Owwww fucking hell! Morris!!” she yells
Morris: “Quiet!”
The flamethrower burst comes forth again, Venomous snake Johnson is caught and runs off the side screaming, Anubis Johnson chases helpfully with a blanket.
Comte: “Ahahahahahahha”
Laughs the Comte, now mon Cherie come to me, and he snatches Bath Sheba back off Bikle who is been quite non-plussed by the sudden chaos.
Bikle: “Hoi! Come back here wid by odiod!”
He attempts to give chase, but finds himself pulled up sharply. The reason for this sudden cessation of forward momentum is, sadly, not far to seek. He peers glumly behind him.
Bikle: “Ho god. It’s just as I feared. By cloak is caught id dat blasted bangle again!”
As if apprehending certain consequences, he peers around him with a somewhat haunted look. The Comte is cavorting triumphantly with Bath Sheba, Buckland is still, in his own mind at least, distracting the guards, the Johnsons are milling around, seemingly bored of the whole thing. Nobody else appears.
Bikle: “Bi said, by cloak is trapped in dat blasted bangle!” Again, nothing. Bikle seems nonplussed, “Cloak id der bangle b’everybody!”
Marcus Alphonso is in transports of ecstasy, smothering the onion queen in messy kisses.
Comte de B.: “Ah yes ma swit pungent cherie, soon we shall mingle your eyewatering juices wiz mahn! And zen, ah shall be keeeng of zer Nile! And I shall ‘ave mah vengeance upon Caesar, zat fuckair!”
Again, everybody looks expectantly at the wings. Nothing. The audience, used to the procedure by now, chorus:
Audience: “MO-RRIIISS!”
Eventually, and somewhat incongruously, Mexican Bandit Johnson slouches on stage and renders the Comte hors du combat with a loping roundhouse left to the jaw. Morris himself ambles onstage dressed in a serapé and sombrero, clearly surprised that the pantomime is still going on.
Morris: “What are you lot still doing here? Yolanda, bring on the next contestant.”
With her neck swathed in bloodstained bandages Yolanda lurches onto the set. Her eyes are glassy and unfocussed, in a singsong voice she announces,
Yolanda: “Next up tonight boys and girls, is 58 year old Clancetta from Caernarvon.”
On he waddles, still clad in his widow’s garb.
Morris: “Come on then sunshine, what’s your story. And make it brief, I’ve got a fiver’s worth of brisket simmering away back there that’s got my name on it.”
Clancy: “Blblplp! Ho sir, I’m a poor widow. Husband burnt to death in newsagency tragedy. Sold only cow. Blplplb! Son an embarrassing failure. Can’t go anywhere without getting cape trapped in h’mangle! Like to sing overture from Gounod’s Faust.”
Morris: “I just bet you would you turkey bastard. Well not on my watch. Gimme a sand dance and make it snappy…”
Clancy looks crestfallen.
Clancy: “Blplplbl! Not much of a dancer. Even in my younger days. Some conjuring perhaps?”
Yolanda, patently under the influence of Venomous Snake Johnson’s pernicious narcotic, suddenly pipes up:
Yolanda: “I may be dressed as a figure from an ancient aegyptian legend, an icon of myth and romance, but when I spots a gobbler like you…”
Audience: “I SAYS DANCE TURKEY DANCE!”
Yolanda: “And I may be high on snake toxins, as anyone can see at a glance, but when I’m confronted by an old fraud like you…”
Audience: “I SAYS DANCE TURKEY DANCE!”
Yolanda: “I may be having muscle spasms, and falling into a deathly trance…” (hits floor with a thud.)
Bikle wrenches himself free with a grunt and turns to face the crowd.
Bikle: “But whed I sees a bother like you…”
Audience: “I SAYS DANCE TURKEY DANCE!”
With a sudden flourishing dance
Clancy: “Blblblblblblblp I may be an old widow, I may be short on romance, but when I feel music take my feet I say…”
Audience “Dance Turkey Dance!”
The music continues and Clancy performs an impressive routine. The audience clap wildly and throw flowers.
Morris: “You may be my old arch enemy, you be a turkey bastard, but when I see a fowl, with a rhythm like a err bowel, I say dance Turkey dance,”
Morris spins the turkey round elegantly, Clancy releases from the spin and steps daintily to one side looking back at him, Morris doffs his hat and Clancy moves seamlessly back into his arms and they faux waltz back across the stage to a jaunty blue danubesque number before returning to the main melody, the Morris and Clancy sing the last part together
Morris/Clancy: “We may be the other’s respective nemesis, we may foil each other’s plans, but when put on a show there are faces
all aglow, and no one in a rigid stance, yes when we put on a show the whole place is aglow with the a warmth like the south of Fraaaance!”
Morris: Alone now speaking in his dread tone “Well the whole place is aglow isn’t it! As a terrifying conflagration swept through the stalls, the audience screamed! But it was to no avail as the tragedy unfolded! Look!”
Arsonist Johnson is busy at work with a petrol can…Bikle is writhing and screaming.
Bikle: “Wake up! I bust be dreabig!”
Suddenly he awakes. He is drenched with sweat, lying on a leather couch in a dimly lit room. Blinking, he looks owlishly around. Seated beside him in a deep leather armchair is a short portly figure dressed in a suit redolent of the height of European fashion of the early 20th century. He is terrified to see that behind the wispy white beard and moustache the fleshless lips are drawn back to display the shrivelled gums and teeth. Behind the round spectacles, the sockets are eyeless black pits. The lich presses him gently back onto the couch with a withered, clawlike hand, and speaks in a sibilant rattling whisper tinged with a Viennese accent:
Freud Corpse: “So. Tell me zer von about your mutter again….”

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Published in: on January 6, 2015 at 1:17 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. Definitely the most I have laughed in a long while, thanks.
    Favourite bits – The pantomime cow arriving on both sides of the set as a front-quarters and hind-quarters separately, and symbolic Johnson with his calendar.


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