Outside Twankey’s Laundrette In Peking Square
A large laundry basket is (USL) Music cue 3: Chorus. After song ends…
Enter Wishee (SL)
WISHEE: Hiya kids! (response) Dear me, I thought we had an audience in today.
CHORUS 1: Maybe 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 introduce yourself to them?
WISHEE: Good idea. Hiya boys and girls! I’m Wishee Washee and this is Twankey’s Laundrette, where I work. Well, some of the time. I things nice and friendly, so, every time I come on I’ll shout Wishee! Wishee! Wishee! And you all shout back, Washee! Washee! Washee! Will you do that? Let’s have a practice then. (exits and re-enters) Wishee! Wishee! Wishee! Now let’s try it again with all the mums and dads joining in. (repeats business) Fantastic!
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 on her own.
CHORUS 1: And we’re sure that your job is on the line.
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? (reads note) 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 right now.
WISHEE: Doing what?
CHORUS 2: Taking the mickey out of you.
WISHEE: Well clear off and take it out of somebody else.
Exit Chorus laughing (SL)
WISHEE: I might be lazy, but I’m not as lazy as my brother Aladdin. He’s too lazy to even 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.
Enter Aladdin (SR)
ALADDIN: Good morning, Wishee! What a wonderful day it is 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 important to see 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. (produces a peach) Here you are.
WISHEE: Where did you get that peach from?
ALADDIN: From the royal palace gardens.
WISHEE: You risked your life, for a paltry peach!?
ALADDIN: No. I was trying to catch sight of Princess Pekoe. 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.
WISHEE: Anyway, I’ve lost my appetite.
ALADDIN: Since when?
WISHEE: Since mum pinned this note to the washing-line. (shows note) Look!
ALADDIN: Don’t take any notice, Wishee. Mum’s always saying stuff she doesn’t mean.
WISHEE: I know, but this time it’s in writing.
Enter Twankey (SL) struggling with a basket of laundry.
TWANKEY: This washing from the local gym weighs a ton! I think somebody left their dumbbells inside.
ALADDIN: Hello, mum!
TWANKEY: Speaking of dumbbells – I’m surprised to see you both here.
WISHEE: What do you mean, mum?
TWANKEY: 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.
ALADDIN: It might have started off slow, but I think it’s lapping you now.
TWANKEY: Cheek! I might not be as young as I was, but there’s still life in the old boiler, if it’s stoked hard enough. Your late father was hopeless with boilers – and everything else for that matter.
WISHEE: I don’t ever remember dad.
TWANKEY: That’s because you were born eleven months after he died, Wishee.
WISHEE: How could I have been born eleven months after dad died?
TWANKEY: You were a late baby – and you’ve been late ever since. You both take after your father. He was that lazy, he couldn’t be bothered changing his socks. By the end of the week, he couldn’t get his shoes on. Before we wed, he promised that life with him would be like a fairytale. And it was – Grimm.
ALADDIN: Have you put on weight, mum?
TWANKEY: I might have – what’s it to you?
WISHEE: I thought you were on a diet, mum
TWANKEY: I was – but I’ve had a lot on my plate recently.
ALADDIN: I think that goes without saying.
TWANKEY: I meant stress wise! And whenever women get stressed, we tend to eat a lot of chocolate.
WISHEE: (pointing) That woman on the third must be mega stressed.
TWANKEY: You’ll have to excuse him, dear. When he was a baby, a camera dropped on his head and he never fully developed.
ALADDIN: What have you got to be stressed about, mum?
TWANKEY: Let me think. I’m a poor widow – I run a laundrette that’s losing money – and I’ve two sons who move slower than a snail on tranquilisers. Apart from that, everything’s in the garden’s rosy.
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?
TWANKEY: I can’t afford a new one.
WISHEE: How come?
TWANKEY: Because the laundry business is all washed up. (laughs) All washed up? Oh, never mind. What’s that in your hand Aladdin?
ALADDIN: It’s a peach, mum.
TWANKEY: We can’t 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 Pekoe again.
ALADDIN: Yes, mum. They say that she’s the most beautiful girl in all China.
TWANKEY: But if you get caught, you might lose your head!
SFX: Police whistles.
WISHEE: It’s the police!
TWANKEY: Somebody must have spotted you at the palace, Aladdin!
ALADDIN: I need somewhere to hide, quick!
WISHEE: (holding lid up) What about this laundry basket?
ALADDIN: Cheers, Wishee. (climbs in basket, dropping the peach on the floor)
Music cue 4: Enter Feng and Shui (SR) at a run, blowing their whistles.
TWANKEY: Why are you blowing your whistles – is somebody offside?
FENG: No. Someone’s been pinching pink peaches from Princess Pekoe’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 Pekoe’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: 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 workaholic, is my Aladdin.
SHUI: Now I know you’re lying.
TWANKEY: What do you mean?
FENG: Everybody knows Aladdin’s the laziest boy in all Peking.
SHUI: (picking up the peach) Hello! What’s this ‘ere?
WISHEE: It’s not an ear, it’s a peach.
FENG: It’s a peach from the palace gardens!
WISHEE: How did you know that peach came from the palace gardens?
FENG: I didn’t, until you just confirmed it.
TWANKEY: You idiot, Wishee!
SHUI: Now, tell us who pinched it.
TWANKEY: Say nothing Wishee – we have the right to remain silent.
WISHEE: That’ll be a first for you, mum.
FENG: Then we’ll take you both down the station
SHUI: Have either of you ever been interrogated by the police?
WISHEE: I was once questioned about the theft of a cheese toastie from Greggs. They really grilled me. (laughs) Cheese? Grilled?
FENG: (prodding Wishee with a truncheon) You won’t be laughing after we’ve finished interrogating you with our big truncheons.
SHUI: (prodding Twankey) We’ll be asking you some probing questions.
WISHEE: (almost crying) I don’t want probing with his big truncheon, mum.
TWANKEY: Will this interrogation involve any cavity searches?
FENG: Certainly not!
TWANKEY: Well, it was worth asking anyway.
SHUI: Now come along the both of you.
Aladdin opens the basket lid and stands up, covered in washing.
ALADDIN: Let them go! I pinched that pink peach from Princess Pekoe’s private palace pagoda! You’re right, it’s not easy saying that.
WISHEE: I told you he was up to his armpits in work, didn’t I?
FENG: Aladdin Twankey, you’re under arrest for pinching the royal peaches.
TWANKEY: Please don’t arrest him! I’m sure he didn’t mean any harm!
SHUI: He only wanted to cop a look at the Princess.
WISHEE: And that’s even worse!
FENG: The working class are forbidden to look upon the Princess.
TWANKEY: That won’t apply to Aladdin.
SHUI: Why not?
TWANKEY: He never does any work.
FENG: Are you trying to be funny?
TWANKEY: Well, somebody should try.
SHUI: Working or not, he’s still a commoner.
FENG: And commoners are forbidden to look upon the Princess’s face.
SHUI: The penalty for doing so, is death!
TWANKEY: Ooooh! My poor Aladdin! (swoons)
WISHEE: Don’t worry Aladdin, I know how you can get out of this.
ALADDIN: How Wishee?
WISHEE: Run for it!
ALADDIN: Good idea! (exits at a run SL)
FENG: After him, Shui!
Exit Feng and Shui at a run (SL)
WISHEE: Aladdin’s in big trouble if they catch him, mum.
TWANKEY: That’s nothing compared to the trouble you’re in!
WISHEE: What have I done now?
TWANKEY: (rolling up her sleeves) ‘Cop a look at the Princess’!?
WISHEE: It was just a slip of the tongue, mum!
TWANKEY: And I’m about to pull it out!
WISHEE: Owheeer! (runs off around stage)
Enter Chorus (SR) and see Twankey chasing Wishee.
CHORUS 1: What’s going on here?
CHORUS 2: Maybe they’re in training for the local marathon.
CHORUS 3: Widow Twankey’s the wrong shape for marathons.
TWANKEY: (halts) And just what shape should I be?
CHORUS 4: Human shaped.
TWANKEY: (raises fist) How about I reshape your faces!?
WISHEE: Saved by the bell! (exits into laundrette)
TWANKEY: I’m about to drag Wishee out here, and I’d advise you all too clear off first.
CHORUS 1: Why’s that?
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: Get lost, you sickos!
Exit Chorus laughing (SR)
Music cue 5: Enter Abanazar (SL)
ABANAZAR: Peking at last! Now I just need to find 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) I should have said, old hag.
TWANKEY: I haven’t seen you around before. What’s your name?
ABANAZAR: Aba! Aba!
TWANKEY: Abba? I love them! (sings) ‘Take a chance on me! Take a chance on me…’
ABANAZAR: No thanks, I’m after a young boy.
TWANKEY: No point in fluttering my eyelashes at you then.
ABANAZAR: His name is Aladdin.
TWANKEY: Did you say, Aladdin?
ALADDIN: 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’m your husband’s long-lost brother.
TWANKEY: I didn’t even know he had a brother, let alone lost one. Mind you, he always was careless.
ABANAZAR: Neither did, I 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 just a baby.
TWANKEY: You must hate them for that.
ABANAZAR: 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.
Enter Wishee from laundrette.
WISHEE: Wishee! Wishee! Wishee! The washer’s playing up again, mum.
TWANKEY: Never mind that now son. 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 notice.
Enter Aladdin (SR)
ALADDIN: I managed to give those coppers the slip, mum.
TWANKEY: Speak of the devil.
WISHEE: Aladdin! You’re just in time to meet our long-lost Uncle Albania.
ABANAZAR: It’s Abanazar! I’m your father’s brother.
ALADDIN: I didn’t even know father had a brother.
ABANAZAR: Well, he did! And I’m about to make you all rich.
TWANKEY: Maybe he’s won the lottery and wants to share it with us.
ABANAZAR: I don’t do the lottery.
ALADDIN: Then how do you intend to make us rich?
ABANAZAR: Deep in the mountains, lies a cave holding untold treasure – plus a dirty old lamp. Fetch me the lamp and you can keep all the treasure for yourself.
WISHEE: Why don’t you just fetch the lamp yourself?
ABANAZAR: The entrance is too narrow for me. But a young slim boy will easily fit through.
ALADDIN: Do you think I should trust him, boys and girls?
ABANAZAR: Ignore those idiots!
ALADDIN: What do you think, mum?
TWANKEY: I think I’d like to be rich, Aladdin.
WISHEE: At least then we could afford a new washing machine.
ALADDIN: All right uncle, I’ll do it.
ABANAZAR: Good. I’ll fetch some mountaineering equipment and return for you. (aside – exiting) Soon, all the power in the world will be mine! (exits SL)
TWANKEY: I’ve waited years for my ship to come in, and now a whole fleet’s just dropped anchor. Music cue 6: Twankey, Aladdin and Wishee. After song ends…
FENG & SHUI: (shouts off) Make way for the Emperor! Make way for the Emperor!
Enter Chorus (SL) ready to greet the Emperor.
Music cue 7: Enter Feng and Shui (SR) followed by the Emperor.
EMPEROR: Citizens of Peking! Your beloved Emperor has decreed, that my daughter Princess Pekoe, must marry within the week. Suitors for her hand may present themselves tomorrow at the palace, but only incredibly rich people need apply. She will be passing through here shortly, and no commoner must gaze upon her face, on pain of death.
TWANKEY: Come on boys, let’s clear off quick.
ALADDIN: But I want to stay and see Princess Pekoe, mum.
TWANKEY: And just what do you think will happen then?
ALADDIN: Our eyes might meet – we instantly fall in love – get married and live happily ever after?
TWANKEY: And pigs might fly.
WISHEE: That kind of mushy stuff only happens in a panto, Aladdin.
ALADDIN: So, there’s a good chance then?
TWANKEY: Didn’t you hear the Emperor say that only rich people need apply?
WISHEE: And we’re that poor – at Christmas we can only afford to exchange glances.
EMPEROR: The Princess is coming! Clear the streets!
TWANKEY: Let’s go before we get into trouble. (drags Aladdin & Wishee off SL)
FENG & SHUI: Clear the streets! Clear the streets! (herd Chorus off SL and follow)
Enter a curtained litter (SR) with Bearers – So Shy and Guards follow.
PEKOE: Halt! (the litter is set down and the Princess emerges) Oh, no.
EMPEROR: What’s the matter Pekoe?
PEKOE: There’s nobody here again father – as per usual.
EMPEROR: It’s forbidden for commoners to gaze upon your royal features, daughter.
PEKOE: But why is it?
EMPEROR: Ancient customs and all that.
PEKOE: I’m sick of ancient customs. Why can’t we have some modern ones instead?
EMPEROR: Such as?
PEKOE: Such as allowing me to choose who I wish to marry?
EMPEROR: Don’t you trust me to find you a suitable husband, Pekoe?
SO SHY: And by suitable, he means rich.
EMPEROR: What’s more suitable for a Princess than a rich husband?
PEKOE: But I want to marry for love not money.
EMPEROR: 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 more cutbacks to the royal staff.
PEKOE: But So Shy here is the only handmaiden I have left.
EMPEROR: If you wish to keep her, then you must marry into money. Now, let’s get home.
PEKOE: But I was hoping to do a spot of shopping first.
EMPEROR: I’m afraid that’s impossible, Pekoe.
PEKOE: Why is it?
EMPEROR: The royal credit card has just been stopped.
PEKOE: Then I’ll just go window-shopping instead.
EMPEROR: We don’t need any more windows at the palace.
PEKOE: Window-shopping, means looking at stuff without buying anything.
EMPEROR: Very well. But wear your yasmak so that no commoner sees your face.
PEKOE: (produces a yasmak and puts it on) Happy now?
EMPEROR: Return the Princess to the palace in one hour, So Shy.
SO SHY: Yes, your majesty.
Exit Emperor (SR)
PEKOE: (removes her yasmak) I don’t need this anymore.
SO SHY: Your father said you mustn’t go about barefaced, your highness.
PEKOE: What father doesn’t know won’t hurt him.
SO SHY: I’m going to pop into Twankey’s Laundrette while we’re here.
PEKOE: Are you picking up some washing?
SO SHY: No, I’m going to ask if they’re hiring.
PEKOE: You’re not thinking of leaving the palace, are you?
SO SHY: I don’t want to, but I must keep my options open in case I’m sacked.
PEKOE: I’d miss you terribly if you left.
SO SHY: And I you, your highness. But I can’t live on fresh air.
PEKOE: I understand, So Shy.
SO SHY: Wait here while I enquire within. (starts to exit)
BEARER 1: We’re coming too!
SO SHY: What for?
BEARER 2: We might be made redundant too.
SO SHY: Fair enough.
Exit So Shy and Bearers into laundrette.
PEKOE: (to audience) Father wants me to marry someone rich. But I’d rather be poor and happy than rich and unhappy, wouldn’t you? I think some of you disagree.
Enter Aladdin (SL)
ALADDIN: I managed to give mum the slip and return 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? Right then, I will. After all, who dares wins. (moves to her) Hello Princess!
PEKOE: (turns) It’s you!
ALADDIN: Is it?
PEKOE: I’m sure of it.
ALADDIN: Who am I then?
PEKOE: Don’t you know?
ALADDIN: Of course, I know! I just wanted to know if you know, so that I know you know.
PEKOE: You’re the boy who pinched a pink peach, from my private palace pagoda!
ALADDIN: You saw me?
PEKOE: Obviously. Don’t you realise that you risk losing your head if you’re caught?
ALADDIN: I don’t mind risking my head for my heart’s desire.
PEKOE: Your heart’s desire is a peach?
ALADDIN: No, your highness – you’re my heart’s desire.
PEKOE: (flattered) Really? And what is your name, my bold thief?
ALADDIN: Aladdin, your highness – and I’m not a thief.
PEKOE: You stole a peach, didn’t you?
ALADDIN: Where I come from, it’s called, scrumping.
PEKOE: What’s the difference?
ALADDIN: Well, it’s, erm – you’re not going to dob me in, are you?
PEKOE: No, Aladdin.
ALADDIN: Thank you, your highness.
PEKOE: You may call me, Pekoe.
ALADDIN: I thought you weren’t allowed outside the palace unattended, Pekoe.
PEKOE: I’m not unattended.
ALADDIN: Then where is your entourage?
PEKOE: They’re in Twankey’s Laundrette, enquiring after jobs.
ALADDIN: Don’t they want to work for you anymore then?
PEKOE: Yes, but the palace might not be able to employ them for much longer.
ALADDIN: They won’t have any luck in there I’m afraid.
PEKOE: What makes you say that?
ALADDIN: It’s my mum’s laundrette, and we can barely afford to employ ourselves.
PEKOE: Your family are poor?
ALADDIN: Yes, but money isn’t everything you know.
PEKOE: Try telling my father that. He believes you can’t be poor, and happy.
ALADDIN: Nonsense! I’m poor but happy. I’m even happier now that I’ve met you.
PEKOE: And I’m happy that I’ve met you Aladdin. Music cue 8: Aladdin and Princess. After song ends…
Enter So Shy and Bearers from laundrette.
SO SHY: No luck, your high…(spots Aladdin)…who are you?
ALADDIN: I’m Aladdin.
SO SHY: Don’t you realise you’re risking your life by speaking to the Princess?
ALADDIN: I would risk anything for Pekoe.
PEKOE: He’s totally brave, isn’t he So Shy?
SO SHY: Totally stupid more like.
SFX: Police whistles.
ALADDIN: It’s the police!
SO SHY: Time to go your highness! (bundling Pekoe into the litter)
PEKOE: 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.
PEKOE: She’s right Aladdin – I must go.
ALADDIN: When can I see you again Pekoe?
PEKOE: There are plenty more peaches in my private palace pagoda, just waiting to be, scrumped. Bye Aladdin! (kisses his cheek and climbs inside the litter)
SO SHY: (to Bearers) Move it!
Exit the royal entourage (SL)
Aladdin walks downstage in a dreamlike state.
Enter Feng and Shui (SR) who begin to sneak up on Aladdin.
ALADDIN: Gosh! I can’t believe I’ve just been kissed by a Princess!
FENG: (grabbing him) Aladdin Twankey – you’re under arrest!
ALADDIN: What for?
SHUI: For pinching Princess Pekoe’s peaches!
ALADDIN: I never touched her peaches!
FENG: Come 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 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 – turn and bow)
Exit Aladdin at a run (SR)
FENG: He tricked us!
SHUI: After him!
Exit Feng and Shui at a run (SR)
Enter Wishee and Twankey (SL)
WISHEE: Wishee! Wishee Wishee! It’s no use mum, Aladdin could be anywhere.
TWANKEY: I only turned my back for a second and he disappeared. I just hope he hasn’t gone back to the palace to try and cop look at the Princess.
Enter Female Chorus at a run (SR)
CHORUSMrs Twankey! Mrs Twankey!
TWANKEY: Whatever’s the matter girls?
CHORUS 1:It’s about your son, Aladdin!
TWANKEY: I’m almost too frightened to ask – but what about him?
CHORUS 2:He’s just run 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. Come on Wishee! (drags him off SR)
Exit Chorus (SL)