Outside Twankey’s Laundrette In Peking Square
Music cue 3: Chorus. After song ends…Wishee enters (SL)
Wishee Hiya kids! (response) Dearie me. I thought we had an audience in today.
Chorus 1 Perhaps their parents taught them not talk to strangers.
Wishee I’m not strange!
Chorus 2 That’s a matter of opinion.
Chorus 3 Why don’t you try and make friends by telling them your name?
Wishee What a good idea. (to audience) Hiya kids! I’m Wishee Washee and this is Twankey’s family Laundrette, where I work. Well, some of the time. Now to keep everything nice and friendly, every time I come on, I’ll shout Wishee! Wishee! Wishee! And I want you to all shout back, Washee! Washee! Washee! Will you do that? (response) Let’s have a practice then. (exits and re-enters) Wishee! Wishe! Wishee! Not bad. Now let’s try it again, and this time all the mums and dads join in. (repeats business) That was fantastic! Have some sweeties. (distributes sweets)
Chorus 4 Shouldn’t you be in the Laundrette helping your mum, Wishee?
Wishee I suppose I should really. But I’m sure she’ll manage just fine on her own.
Chorus 1 And we’re sure that your job is on the line, Wishee.
Chorus 2 Literally.
Wishee What do you mean?
Chorus 3 (pointing to a note pegged to the washing line) Look, Wishee!
Wishee What’s this? (removes note and reads) ‘LAUNDRY ASSISTANT WANTED. WISHEE WON’T WASHEE!’ Oh, no! Mum must be thinking of making me redundant!
Chorus 4 You’ve always been redundant, Wishee.
Wishee I don’t see any of you lot busy.
Chorus 1 We’re busy now.
Wishee Doing what?
Chorus 2 Taking the mickey out of you.
Wishee Well you can clear off and take it out of somebody else.
Chorus 3 Bye Wishee!
Chorus laugh and exit (SL)
Wishee I might be lazy, but I’m not as lazy as my brother Aladdin. He’s too lazy to blow his own nose. He just sticks his head out the window and lets the wind blow it for him. Although he’s never too lazy to chase after girls.
Aladdin (enters SR) Good morning, Wishee! Isn’t it a wonderful day, today?
Wishee Well, it might be for some of us.
Aladdin It’s on days like this, I almost wish I had a job. Then I could take the day off.
Wishee You do have a job, Aladdin. Working in mum’s Laundrette.
Aladdin Speaking of which. Would you mind doing my shift today, Wishee? Only I have something very important to attend to.
Wishee Yes, I would mind! (in Aladdin’s face) I’m sick of shifting soiled shirts, socks and shorts, that you should be shifting instead of skiving!
Aladdin (wiping his face) There’s nothing like spitting it out, Wishee. Allow me to present you with a peach offering.
Wishee Don’t you mean a peace offering?
Aladdin No, a peach offering. (produces a peach) Here.
Wishee No thanks, I’ve lost my appetite.
Aladdin Since when?
Wishee Since mum pinned this note to the washing-line. (shows the note) Look!
Aladdin Don’t take any notice, Wishee. Mum’s always saying things she doesn’t mean.
Wishee I know, but this time it’s in writing. Where did you get that peach from, anyway?
Aladdin From the royal palace gardens.
Wishee You risked your life, for a paltry peach!?
Aladdin No, Wishee. I was trying to catch sight of Princess Pomegranate. Now there’s a peach worth risking my life for.
Wishee But it’s certain death, for anybody caught looking at the Princess.
Aladdin The palace guards aren’t clever enough to catch me, Wishee.
Twankey (enters SL struggling to push on a large laundry basket) This washing from the local gym weighs a ton! I think somebody left their dumbbells inside. Speaking of dumbbells. I’m surprised to see you both here. You usually scarper when there’s work to be done. Whereas I spend every day, slaving away. I sometimes feel as though life is slowly passing me by.
Wishee It might have started off slow, mum. But I think it’s lapping you now.
Twankey Cheek! I might not be as young as I once was. But there’s still life in the old boiler, if it’s stoked hard enough. (to audience) The trick is, finding a willing stoker. My late husband was hopeless with boilers. And everything else for that matter. Before we married, he promised that life with him would be like a fairytale. And it was…Grimm. And talk about lazy! He was that lazy he couldn’t even be bothered to change his socks. After a while he couldn’t get his shoes on. Think about it. But not too long. In the end, his laziness killed him.
Aladdin You can’t die of laziness, mum.
Twankey You can if you’re too lazy to get out of bed, when it’s on fire. I warned him about smoking in bed, but he wouldn’t listen.
Wishee I don’t ever remember dad.
Twankey That’s because you were born eleven months after he died, Wishee.
Wishee How could I be born eleven months after dad died?
Twankey You were a very late baby, Wishee. And you’ve been late ever since.
SFX: Explosion – smoke pours on from the Laundrette.
Wishee It sounds like the old boiler’s blown a gasket again, mum.
Twankey That’s the third time this month.
Aladdin Why don’t just you buy a new one, mum?
Twankey I can’t afford a new one.
Wishee How come?
Twankey Because the laundry business is all washed up. (laughs to audience) All washed up? Oh, never mind. (spots the Peach) What’s that in your hand Aladdin?
Aladdin It’s a peach, mum.
Twankey We’re too poor to afford fresh fruit. You haven’t been shoplifting, have you?
Aladdin No, mum. It’s from the palace gardens.
Twankey Don’t tell me you’ve been trying to see that Princess Pomegranate again.
Aladdin Yes, mum.
Twankey But if you get caught, the Emperor will have you decaffeinated!
Aladdin I’m willing to take that risk. They say that she’s the most beautiful girl in all of China.
SFX: Police whistles.
Wishee It’s the police! Somebody must have spotted you Aladdin!
Aladdin I need somewhere to hide, quick!
Wishee (lifting the basket lid) Climb inside the laundry basket, Aladdin!
Aladdin Thanks, Wishee. (climbs inside basket, dropping the peach on the floor)
Music cue 4: Police Officers Feng and Shui enter (SR) with truncheons drawn and blowing their whistles.
Twankey (to Officers) Why are you blowing your whistles? Is somebody offside?
Feng No. Someone’s been pinching pink peaches from Princess Pomegranate’s private palace pagoda! And that’s not easy to say with these teeth.
Shui And we suspect it was your son, Aladdin.
Twankey How dare you inseminate such a thing! My Aladdin would never pinch pink peaches from Princess Pomegranate’s private palace pagoda.
Wishee Well done, mum. You managed to say that without your false teeth falling out.
Twankey I don’t have false teeth! (raising a fist) But you might need some in a minute!
Wishee Anyway, it couldn’t have been Aladdin, officers.
Feng And why not?
Wishee Because he’s been up to his armpits in work all morning. Hasn’t he mum?
Twankey That’s right. He’s a total workaholic, my Aladdin.
Shui And now I know you’re lying.
Twankey What do you mean, officer?
Feng Because, everybody knows that Aladdin’s the laziest boy in the whole of Peking.
Twankey I can’t argue with that. Although Wishee gives him a good run for his money.
Shui (picking up the peach) Hello! What’s this ‘ere, then?
Wishee It’s not an ear, it’s a peach.
Feng Yes. A peach from the palace gardens!
Wishee How do you know that peach came from the palace gardens?
Feng I didn’t. But now you’ve just confirmed it.
Twankey You idiot, Wishee!
Feng Which means that one of you must have pinched it.
Wish & Twa Oh no, we didn’t!
Feng & Shui Oh yes, you did!
Wish & Twa Oh no, we…!
Twankey …Don’t say another word, Wishee. We have the right to remain silent.
Wishee That’ll be a first for you, then.
Shui I’m afraid we shall have to take you both down to the station
Twankey What for?
Feng (tapping truncheon in hand) Interrogation.
Shui (tapping truncheon in hand) Lots of interrogation.
Wishee (almost crying) I don’t want to be integrated with his big truncheon, mum!
Twankey Will it involve any cavity searches?
Shui Certainly not!
Twankey Oh well, it was worth asking anyway.
Feng Now come along both of you.
Feng and Shui take hold of Wishee and Twankey. Suddenly, Aladdin throws back the basket lid and stands up, covered in washing.
Aladdin Let them go! It was me who pinched that pink peach from Princess Pomegranate’s private palace pagoda! (to audience) They’re right, it’s not easy saying that.
WisheeI did say he was up to his armpits in work, didn’t I?
Shui Aladdin Twankey. You’re under arrest, for pinching pink peaches from Princess Pomegranate’s private palace pagoda! (pushes his teeth) Me teeth are in a tangle.
Twankey Oh, please don’t arrest him officer! I’m sure he didn’t mean any harm.
Wishee He only wanted to cop a look at the Princess Pomegranate. Didn’t you, Aladdin?
Feng And that’s even worse!
Shui All commoners are forbidden to look upon the face of the Princess.
Feng Especially, the common working class.
Twankey That won’t apply to my two sons.
Shui What are you talking about?
Twankey Well, either of them does any work. So they can’t be classed as working class, now can they?
Feng Are you trying to be funny?
Twankey Well somebody must try, because this script sure as heck doesn’t help.
Shui Working or not, they’re still classed as commoners.
Feng And commoners aren’t allowed to look upon the Princess’s face.
Shui And the penalty for doing so, is death!
Twankey (swoons) Ooooh! My poor Aladdin!
Wishee Don’t worry Aladdin. I know how you can get out of this.
Aladdin Good idea Wishee! (runs off SL)
Feng After him, Shui! (they chase after Aladdin)
Twankey Keep running Aladdin!
Wishee If they manage to catch him, he’ll be in big trouble mum.
Twankey That’s nothing compared to the trouble you’re in, right now!
Wishee What have I done now?
Twankey Cop a look at the Princess!? (rolling up sleeves) Well, now you’re going to cop it!
Wishee (moves away) It was just a slip of the tongue, mum!
Twankey You won’t have a tongue when I get a hold of you!
Chorus enter (SR) and see Twankey chasing Wishee around stage.
Chorus 1 What’s going on here?
Chorus 2 Maybe they’re training for the London Marathon.
Chorus 3 I doubt it. Widow Twankey couldn’t run up an overdraft, without getting breathless.
Twankey (halts) Cheek! I’m fit as a butcher’s dog, I am.
Chorus 4 That explains why you look dog rough.
Twankey (advancing on Chorus) Why you cheeky little…!
Wishee Saved by the bell! (runs off into the Laundrette)
Twankey (to Chorus) I’m about to drag Wishee out here. So, I would advise you to clear off.
Chorus 1 Why?
Twankey Because I’m about to murder him in cold blood!
Chorus 2 Do you mind if video it on our mobiles and post it on YouTube?
Twankey (to audience) Young people are so desensitised these days. I blame all those violent video games. (to Chorus) Clear off, you sickos! (shoos them off SR)
Music cue 5: Lights dim as Abanazar enters (SL)
Abanazar Peking at last. Now all I must do, is to find this boy Aladdin. And untold power will be within my grasp. (spots Twankey) Pardon me, old woman.
Twankey How dare you call me, old woman!
Abanazar A thousand apologies. (aside to audience) I should have said, old hag.
Twankey I haven’t seen you around here before. What’s your name?
Abanazar It’s, Abanazar.
Abanazar Aba, Aba!
Twankey Abba? Oh, I love them! (sings) Take a chance on me! Take a chance on me!
Abanazar No thanks. I’m looking for a young boy.
Twankey No point in fluttering my eyelashes at you then.
Abanazar His name is Aladdin.
Twankey Did you say, Aladdin?
Aladdin Yes. Do you know him?
Twankey I ought to. I’m his mum.
Abanazar You mean to say, I’m talking to my dear sister in law?
Twankey (shocked) Sister in law!
Abanazar I am your husband’s long-lost brother.
Twankey I didn’t know he had a brother, let alone lost one. Mind you, he always was careless.
Abanazar And I didn’t know I had a brother, until I recently discovered the terrible truth.
Twankey Think yourself lucky. I married it.
Abanazar Our parents were desperately poor and couldn’t afford to feed two children. So they gave me away, when I was still a baby.
Twankey You must hate them for doing that.
Abanazar Not in the least. I’m sure they only did what they thought best
Twankey I must say, you have a very forgiving nature…for a man.
SFX: Clanking noises.
Wishee (enters from shop) Wishee! Wishee! Wishee! The washer’s playing up again, mum.
Twankey Never mind that now. Allow me to introduce your long-lost Uncle Ali Baba.
Abanazar It’s Abanazar! And I come with a wonderful proposal for you, Aladdin.
Wishee I’m not Aladdin. I’m Wishee Washee.
Abanazar Then where is Aladdin?
Wishee Who knows? He could be anywhere.
Abanazar Doesn’t he work in the family business then?
Twankey Not so you’d that notice.
Aladdin (enters SR) Hello, Mum! Hello, Wishee!
Twankey Speak of the devil.
Wishee Aladdin! You’re just in time to meet our long-lost, Uncle Albania.
Abanazar It’s, Abanazar! (to Aladdin) I am your father’s long-lost younger brother.
Aladdin I didn’t even know father had a brother.
Abanazar Well he did! And now that I’ve found you. I’m going to make you all very rich.
Twankey Maybe he’s won the lottery and wants to share his good fortune with us.
Abanazar I don’t do the lottery.
Aladdin Then how do you intend making us all rich?
Abanazar Deep in the mountains, lies a cave holding untold treasure…oh, and a dirty old lamp. Fetch me the lamp, and you can keep all the treasure for you and your family.
Wishee Why don’t you just fetch it yourself?
Abanazar I’m too large to fit through the entrance. But a young slim boy, will easily fit in.
Aladdin (to audience) Do you think I should trust him, boys and girls? (response)
Abanazar Ignore them. They’re only jealous.
Aladdin What do you think, mum?
Twankey I think I’d like to be stinking rich, Aladdin.
Wishee At least then we could afford a new washing machine.
Aladdin All right uncle, I’ll do it.
Abanazar A wise decision, Aladdin. I’ll just go and fetch some mountaineering equipment and then return for you. (to audience – exiting) Soon, all the power in the world will be mine! (exits SL laughing)
Twankey I’ve waited years for my ship to come in, and now a whole fleet has dropped anchor.
Wishee Something’s nagging away at the back of my mind.
Aladdin That’s usually mum, Wishee.
Twankey Not this time, boys. I’m not one for looking a gift horse in the mouth. Music cue 6: Twankey, Aladdin and Wishee. After song ends…Music cue 7: Feng and Shui enter (SR) and Aladdin hides behind Wishee.
Feng & Shui Make way for the Emperor! Make way for the Emperor!
Chorus rush on (SL) and get ready to greet the Emperor. Music cue 8:
Emperor (enters SR) Citizens of Peking! Your beloved Emperor has decreed that my daughter Princess Pomegranate must marry within the week. Suitors for her hand may present themselves tomorrow, at the palace. However, only incredibly rich people need apply. She will also shortly be making her daily visit to the bath house. And no commoner must gaze upon her face, on pain of death.
Feng (looking off SR) Princess Pomegranate approaches!
Shui Clear the streets! Clear the streets!
Twankey (to Aladdin & Wishee) Come on boys, let’s clear off.
Aladdin But I want to stay and see the Princess Pomegranate.
Twankey And just what do you think will happen then?
Aladdin Who knows? Our eyes might meet and we instantly fall in love. Then we get married and live happily ever after.
Wishee That sort of stuff only happens in a panto, Aladdin.
Aladdin So, there’s a pretty good chance then?
Twankey Try, no chance Aladdin. Besides, the Emperor said that only rich people need apply. And we’re that poor, at Christmas we can only afford to exchange glances. Now let’s go before we get into trouble. (drags them both off SL)
Feng and Shui herd Chorus off (SL) and follow them off. A curtained sedan-chair enters (SR) carried by Bearers. So-Shy follows on with several Guards.
Princess Halt! (the sedan-chair is set down, the curtains open and Princess Pomegranate emerges) Oh no, not again!
Emperor What’s wrong, daughter dear?
Princess There’s nobody here, father.
Emperor That’s because, it’s forbidden for commoners to gaze upon your royal features.
Princess But why, father?
Emperor It’s against all our ancient customs.
Princess I’m sick of ancient customs. Why can’t we have some modern ones for a change?
Emperor Such as?
Princess Such as allowing me to choose for myself, who I wish to marry?
Emperor Don’t you trust me to find you a suitable husband, Pomegranate?
Princess I’m sure you mean well father. But I want to marry for love, not custom.
Emperor That’s all well and good, my dear. But the royal coffers are chronically short of cash. Therefore, you must marry somebody rich enough to restore our royal fortunes.
So-Shy No pressure then, Princess.
Emperor Things are that bad. I might have to make even more cutbacks to the royal staff.
Princess But you’ve already made most of them, redundant father. So-Shy here, is the only handmaiden I have left. When will this austerity ever end?
Emperor Just as soon you marry somebody rich. Preferably a Prince. I’m off back to the palace, to see what’s left to pawn. Come along now.
Princess But I was hoping to do a spot of shopping first, father.
Emperor Impossible! Shops are run by common people, who aren’t allowed to see your face.
Princess I’ll wear my yasmak. (takes out a yasmak and puts it on) There. Now nobody can see my face. Happy now?
Emperor Oh, very well. Make sure the Princess returns to the palace in one hour, So-Shy.
So-Shy Yes, your majesty.
Emperor And on no account must you speak to any boys, Pomegranate.
Princess No, father.
Emperor Don’t be late back. (exits)
Princess Father really knows how to put the guilt trip on me, doesn’t he So-Shy?
So-Shy Yes, and it always works.
Princess (removes her yasmak) I’m not wearing this.
So-Shy Your father won’t like you removing your yasmak, your highness.
Princess What father doesn’t know won’t hurt him.
So-Shy I certainly won’t be telling him. Or I might get it in the neck…literally.
Princess I hope father never comes to the point of letting you go, So-Shy.
So-Shy Me too, Princess. I’ll just pop into Twankey’s Laundrette and see if they’re hiring.
Princess You’re not thinking of leaving the palace, are you?
So-Shy No, your highness! But I must keep my options open, in case I’m made redundant.
Princess I’d miss you terribly if you left.
So-Shy I’d miss you too, your highness. But I can’t live on fresh air.
Princess I understand, So-Shy.
So-Shy Wait here while I go inside and enquire.
Bearer 1 We’re coming with you!
So-Shy What for?
Bearer 2 We might be made redundant too.
So-Shy Fair enough. (exits into the Laundrette followed by Bearers)
Princess (walks DSR) Father needn’t worry about any boys speaking to me. They’re all terrified of the penalty for doing so. I doubt that I will ever meet a normal boy.
Aladdin (creeps on DSL – to audience) I managed to give mum the slip and returned to see the Princess. (spots her) That must be her! Gosh she’s beautiful. I wonder if I should dare speak to her. Do you think I should, boys and girls? (response) All right then, I will. After all, who dares wins. (moves to her) Hello Princess!
Princess (turns) It’s you!
Aladdin Is it?
Princess I’m sure of it.
Aladdin Who am I then?
Princess Don’t you know?
Aladdin Of course, I do! I just wanted to know if you know, so that I know you know.
Princess You’re the boy who pinched a pink peach, from my private palace pagoda!
Aladdin You saw me?
Princess Yes, I did. Don’t you realise that risk losing your head, if caught?
Aladdin I don’t mind risking my head, for my heart’s desire.
Princess You mean, a peach?
Aladdin No! I mean you, your highness.
Princess And what is your name, my bold thief?
Aladdin Aladdin, your highness. And I’m not a thief.
Princess You stole a peach, didn’t you?
Aladdin Where I come from it’s called, scrumping.
Princess And what’s the difference?
Aladdin Well…its…erm. You’re not going to dob me in, are you?
Princess No, Aladdin. And you may call me Pomegranate.
Aladdin Thank you your high…I mean, Pomegranate. I’m surprised to see you here alone. I thought you weren’t allowed outside the palace unattended.
Princess I’m not unattended.
Aladdin (looking around) Then where is your entourage?
Princess They’re in Twankey’s Laundrette, enquiring after a job.
Aladdin They won’t have any luck there I’m afraid.
Princess What makes you say that?
Aladdin It’s my mum’s Laundrette, and we can barely afford to employ ourselves. Don’t they want to work for you anymore, then?
Princess Yes, but the palace might not be able to afford to employ them for much longer.
Aladdin Don’t tell me the royal mint’s skint.
Princess Not quite. But it has a great big hole in it.
Aladdin It sounds like a royal, Polo Mint. (laughs)
Princess It’s no laughing matter Aladdin.
Aladdin I’m sorry Princess, but money isn’t everything you know.
Princess Try telling my father that.
Aladdin Look at me. I’m poor but happy. I’m even happier now that I’ve met you.
Princess And I’m happy to have met you Aladdin. If only father would realise, that there’s more to life than money. Like happiness…kindness…
Princess (smitten) Especially, love. Music cue 9: Aladdin and Princess. After song ends…So-Shy and Bearers re-enter from the Laundrette.
So-Shy No luck I’m afraid. (spots Aladdin) Hey, you!
Aladdin (looks about then points to himself) Who, me?
So-Shy Yes, you! Don’t you realise you’re risking your life by speaking to the Princess?
Aladdin Yes, and I would risk anything for her.
Princess He’s totally brave, isn’t he So-Shy?
So-Shy Totally stupid, you mean.
SFX: Police whistles.
Aladdin It’s the law!
So-Shy Time to go your highness! (tries bundling Pomegranate into the sedan)
Princess What are you doing, So-Shy?
So-Shy Saving your idiot friend’s life.
Aladdin What do you mean?
So-Shy If the police see you with the Princess, you’re sure to be executed.
Princess She’s right Aladdin. I must go.
Aladdin When can I see you again?
Princess There are plenty more peaches in my pagoda, just waiting to be, scrumped. Bye Aladdin! (kisses him on the cheek and climbs inside the sedan)
So-Shy (to Bearers) Move it!
Bearers lift the sedan chair and carry it off (SL) So-Shy follows on behind as Feng and Shui sneak on (SR)
Aladdin (dreamily) Gosh! I can’t believe I’ve just been kissed by a Princess! (stares after her and doesn’t notice Feng and Shui sneaking up on him)
Feng (grabbing Aladdin) Aladdin Twankey! You’re under arrest!
Aladdin For what?
Shui For pinching the royal peaches!
Aladdin I never touched her peaches!
Feng Come along quietly and don’t make things worse for yourself.
Shui He can’t make things worse for himself.
Feng Why can’t he?
Shui He’s already facing the death penalty. And it can’t get any worse than that, can it?
Feng Oh yes, it can.
Shui They might torture you first.
Aladdin I wish I hadn’t asked now.
Shui Let’s go Aladdin.
Aladdin (pointing SL behind them) It’s the Emperor!
Feng & Shui Your majesty! (they release Aladdin and bow. Aladdin runs off SR after a few seconds, they look up and realise they’ve been tricked)
Feng He tricked us!
Shui After him!
They run off after Aladdin.
Twankey (off) Aladdin! Where are you?
Wishee and Twankey enter (SL)
Wishee Wishee! Wishee Wishee! It’s no use mum, we’ll never find Aladdin.
Twankey That’s because he’s slippier than an M.P on Question Time.
Female Chorus run on (SR)
Chorus Mrs Twankey! Mrs Twankey!
Twankey Whatever’s the matter girls?
Chorus 1 It’s about your son, Aladdin!
Twankey What about him?
Chorus 2 He just ran past us, with two police officers chasing after him.
Twankey It seems they’re not giving up on Aladdin this time, Wishee.
Wishee Don’t worry mum, they’ll never catch him.
Twankey Well not if we catch him first, they won’t. Come on! (drags Wishee off SR)