The Town Square In Old Peking
Twankey’s laundrette is (USR) a laundry basket stands outside. Music cue 3: Chorus. After song ends…Chorus exit (USL) Widow Twankey enters (DSL) carrying a shopping bag and singing.
Twankey #Keep young and beautiful, it’s my duty to be beautiful…# (sees audience) Oh, hello! If I’d known we had visitors, I would have worn my best frock. What am I saying? This is my best frock. I’m that poor, I get clothes parcels from Oxfam. (elicit sympathy) I’m poorer than that. (response) I tried supplementing my income by taking a job as a contortionist, but I still couldn’t make ends meet. Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Widow Twankey, and I run this laundrette with my sons, Aladdin and Wishee Washee. Wishee was supposed to be helping me fetch the shopping this morning. I don’t know where he is, but I wish he would hurry up. Wishee, would hurry up? (laughs) I made a little joke there. Pity you missed it.
Wishee (enters SR scratching his head and yawning) Hi, mum!
Twankey What time do you call this, Wishee?
Wishee Breakfast time?
Twankey Try lunchtime.
Wishee Sorry mum, I overslept.
Twankey You sleep more than a catatonic cat on tranquillisers.
Wishee (to audience) Hiya boys and girls! Hey, do you wanna be in my gang? (response) Great. Every time I come on, I’ll shout wotcha gang! And you all shout back wotcha Wishee! Will you do that? Let’s have a practice then. (exits and re-enters) Wotcha, gang! (response) Have they all gone home, mum?
Twankey No, but they might as well. Because it doesn’t get any better.
Wishee Let’s try it again. (exits and re-enters) Wotcha, gang! (response) Brilliant! What’s in the bag, mum?
Twankey It’s a new frock. I got it in a 50% off sale at Primark. (takes out half a frock) I didn’t know they meant it literally! Now you’re here Wishee, you can help me shop.
Wishee We’re so poor, all you ever buy is baked beans and sprouts. If it weren’t for the musical evenings our diet provided, life could get boring. According to Jamie Oliver, I should be eating a balanced diet.
Twankey You do eat a balanced diet.
Wishee How do you make that out?
Twankey The sprouts on your plate weigh the same as the beans. Now let’s go.
Wishee But I haven’t had breakfast yet.
Twankey I’ll buy us lunch at that new Chinese Italian restaurant. Gino’s Hot Wok Pasta Bar.
Wishee Forget it, mum. I went there once and came out hungrier than when I went in.
Twankey How come?
Wishee Have you tried eating spaghetti with chopsticks? I ended up knitting myself a scarf.
Aladdin (runs on SL) Help! I’m being chased by a lunatic!
Wishee Quick, Aladdin. Hide in the laundry basket!
Aladdin Thanks, Wishee. (climbs inside the laundry basket)
Merchant (runs on SL – angrily to Twankey) Where is your useless son, Aladdin?
Twankey Why? What do you want with him?
Merchant I asked him to look after my stall. And when I returned, the stall was empty and there were only fifty pence in the till!
Twankey Well he isn’t here.
Merchant I’ll catch him if it’s the last thing I do. (exits SR)
Wishee (lifts basket lid) You can come out now, Aladdin.
Aladdin (climbing out) That was a close call.
Twankey What have you been up now, Aladdin?
Twankey How dare you speak to your mother like that!
Aladdin No, mum! It means buy one get one free! Only I got a bit confused, and put up a sign saying, buy one and get the rest free.
Twankey If only you had the brains of an ant, Aladdin.
Chorus enter (SL) chattering excitedly.
Wishee What’s all the excitement?
Chorus 1 Haven’t you heard?
Twankey Haven’t we heard what?
Chorus 2 Princess Lychee is coming to Peking for a spot of royal shopping.
Chorus 3 Apparently, she’s looking for a wedding dress.
Aladdin (aghast) The Princess is getting married!
Wishee Bad luck, Aladdin. We all know that you’ve had a thing for her.
Twankey He never stood a chance there, Wishee. (to Chorus) So, who’s she marrying then?
Chorus 4 Won Hung Lo!
Twankey I know. (adjusts her bosom) I could do with those ones that lift and separate.
Chorus 5 He’s the son of the Grand Khazi.
Aladdin She can’t marry him!
Chorus 1 I’m afraid she has no choice.
Chorus 2 Her parents are arranging everything.
Wishee I’m glad I’m not royalty. I’d rather decide for myself who I marry.
Twankey You’re never awake long enough to get married.
Aladdin I was hoping to marry Princess Lychee myself, one day.
Wishee But you’ve never even seen her, Aladdin.
Aladdin No, but I’ve heard that she’s beautiful. And I’d risk anything to catch a glimpse of her.
Twankey Everybody knows its death for commoners to look upon the Princess.
Wishee Royal walkabouts must be pretty quiet affairs then. Music cue 4:
Kung (shouts off) Clear the streets! Clear the streets!
Twankey It’s the royal party! We’d best scarper, quick!
All exit (USR) bar Aladdin who climbs back into the laundry basket unnoticed. Kung and Fu enter (SL) brandishing their truncheons.
Fu Look out! Look out!
Kung Mind what you do!
Fu Or the Peking police will come for you!
Kung We’re the toughest coppers you’ll ever meet!
Fu Now, hurry up and clear the street!
Kung Our duties we conduct with rigorous pride!
Fu And if you misbehave, you’ll be quick stir-fried!
Kung My name’s Kung!
Fu And my name’s Fu!
Kung & Fu And we’ll give you a taste of the old one two! Music cue 5: (Kung-Fu style mock fight) After number ends…
Man (runs on SL) Please help, me officers!
Kung What seems to be the trouble, sir?
Man I need to find a chemist, quick!
Fu What for?
Man A bee has just stung me on the finger!
Fu Which one?
Man I don’t know! Bees all look alike to me!
Fu Buzz off! (hits him with his truncheon)
Man staggers off (SR) as Woman 1 enters (SL)
Woman 1 Excuse me, officers.
Kung Yes, madam?
Woman 1 Could you tell me the name of the road where Poundland is?
Fu (thinking hard) Oh, I know it like the back of my hand. No don’t tell me, the name’s on the tip of my tongue.
Woman 1 Stick your tongue out then.
Fu What for?
Woman 1 So that I can see the name of the road.
Kung (prods her with his truncheon) On your way, missus.
Woman 1 exits (SR) as Woman 2 enters (SL)
Fu (places a hand on Woman 2) Excuse me madam, but would you mind accompanying us to the station?
Woman 2 Whatever for officer?
Kung It’s in a rough area, and we’re frightened to go on our own.
Woman 2 (handbags them) Get lost, you wusses!
Woman 2 exits (SR) as a Young Boy enters (SL) dressed in shorts.
Boy (to Fu) Please sir, can you tell me where I can buy some long pants?
Fu How long do you want them?
Boy From October to March. (laughs)
Kung Who taught you to be so cheeky?
Boy Nobody. I’m self-taught.
Fu Then here’s another lesson for you. (hits Boy on head with truncheon)
Boy (wails) I’ll tell my mum on you!
Fu And while you’re at it, tell her I’ll be late home for tea.
Boy Okay, dad. (exits SR)
Khazi (enters DSR) Make way for their Imperial Majesties! (to Kung & Fu) I thought you two were supposed to be clearing the streets!
Kung & Fu (shooing Chorus offstage) Come on you lot, clear off!
Music cue 6: The Emperor and Empress enter (DSR)
Empress Where are our subjects?
Khazi We’ve cleared them all from the streets as usual, your majesty.
Emperor Well bring them back immediately! I have an important announcement to announce.
Khazi At once, your excellency. (shouts) Choruss of Peking, draw near and listen to your beloved Emperor!
Chorus re-enter (SL)
Emperor Loyal objects! We are happy to announce the forthcoming marriage of the Princess Lychee! And declare that her wedding day, will be a public holiday!
Empress But it will be unpaid.
Emperor There will be a huge party in the palace grounds!
Empress But none of you are invited.
Emperor The pubs will stay open all day!
Empress But we’ve doubled prices to pay for the royal wedding.
Emperor Princess Lychee will be going on a royal walkabout!
Empress And I’m going shopping for designer clothes and expensive jewellery.
General murmuring amongst the Chorus.
Empress (to Emperor) The crowd is getting restless, dear. Let’s go before they turn ugly.
Emperor (to Empress) We’ll return home and continue preparing for Lychee’s wedding.
Empress Princess Lychee’s entourage will be here shortly, and no commoner must gaze upon her face. See to it Khazi.
Khazi Yes, your majesty.
Emperor Come along, dear. (exits SL with Empress)
Khazi (to Kung & Fu) Clear all these commoners from the streets, immediately!
Chorus 1 I wish she’d make up her mind.
Chorus 2 Who does she think she is anyway?
Chorus 3 She’s the Khazi.
Chorus 4 I thought she looked a bit flushed.
Kung & Fu (draw their truncheons and start herding Chorus off SL) Clear the streets!
Chorus 1 All right we’re going!
Chorus 2 Talk about police harassment.
Chorus exit (SL) Followed by Kung and Fu and the Khazi.
Lychee (shouts off) Hurry, Peekaboo!
Princess Lychee runs on (SR) followed by Peekaboo.
Peekaboo What’s the rush, your highness?
Lychee I was hoping we’d get here before they cleared the streets, but it’s too late. Oh Peekaboo, I’m so bored with being cooped up inside the palace. I never get to talk to anybody outside of its four walls.
Peekaboo I don’t understand this urge you have, to mix with lots of strange people.
Lychee I don’t want to mix with strange people Peekaboo. Just normal ones. Anyway, I don’t even love Won Hung Lo. In fact, I believe he loves another. And I think I know who.
Peekaboo (innocently) Who, your highness?
Lychee Don’t pretend, Peekaboo. It’s obvious that you and Won Hung Lo love each other.
Peekaboo It’s true your highness. But I fear that we can never be together. (cries)
Lychee Don’t cry, Peekaboo. I’ll think of a way to get us both out of this predicament.
Peekaboo But how, your highness?
Lychee I don’t know, but I’ll think of something. Now run along and touch up your makeup. You don’t want Won Hung Lo seeing you, with mascara running down your face.
Peekaboo Yes, your highness. (exits SR)
Aladdin (throws back the basket lid and stands) Hello Princess!
Lychee (startled) Oh!
Aladdin (climbing out) I’m sorry your highness, I didn’t mean to startle you.
Lychee Who are you? And what are you doing hiding in that basket?
Aladdin My name’s Aladdin. And I hid in there, to see if you really are as beautiful as everybody says.
Lychee I see. (curious) And…?
Aladdin And you’re not.
Lychee (disappointed) Oh!
Aladdin You’re much more beautiful.
Lychee You flatter me Aladdin. But you have taken a great risk. If you’re caught, my father will have you executed.
Aladdin It was worth the risk.
Lychee Aren’t you afraid of death?
Aladdin (boldly) I’m afraid of nothing. Apart from mother, when she’s on the warpath.
Lychee Oh, Aladdin. It’s so nice to meet a normal person for a change.
Aladdin Is it true that you’re about to be married, your highness?
Lychee It’s true that my parents are trying to force me, to marry someone I don’t love.
Aladdin Nobody should be forced to marry against their will. But I would climb mountains, swim oceans and face any danger, for the girl I love.
Lychee (sighs) How romantic. I wish I could meet someone who would do all that for me.
Aladdin Perhaps you just have, Princess.
Lychee You mean…?
Aladdin Do you believe in love at first sight, Lychee?
Lychee I didn’t…until now. Music cue 7: Lychee and Aladdin. After song ends…
SFX: Police whistles.
Aladdin Hello! They’re playing my theme tune again.
Lychee You must leave, Aladdin. You risk your life being here.
Aladdin I’d risk anything to be with you Lychee.
Lychee And I would give up everything to be with you, Aladdin.
Aladdin Is there any chance you might marry me, instead of Won Hung Lo?
Lychee I would. But my father won’t allow me to marry anyone who is not, fabulously wealthy.
Aladdin Then I will go and make my fortune and return for you.
SFX: Police whistles.
Lychee (looks to wing) Hurry, Aladdin! They’re almost here!
Aladdin(moves backwards DSR) Farewell Lychee! I shall return shortly!
Kung and Fu enter (SL) blowing their police whistles.
Kung Aladdin! Stop in the name of the law!
Fu You’re under arrest for gazing upon the Princess’s face!
Aladdin And very nice it was too.
Kung & Fu Get him!
Aladdin turns and runs off (SR) chased by Kung and Fu.
Lychee( shouts) Run Aladdin! (runs off after them)