The Old Bazaar In Cairo
Baba’s Barber Shop is (DSR) a chair is outside, with a barber’s cape draped over the back. Music cue 1: Chorus. After song ends…Donna Baba enters (SL)
Chorus 1 Hello Donna! Is that a new dress you’re wearing?
Donna Well it’s new to me. I got it from Oxfam. I’m that poor I can’t even afford to shop at Primark. (spots audience) Oh, hello! Are you all here for the camel racing? I tried it once, but never again.
Chorus 2 Why? What happened?
DonnaI fell off at the start and got trampled underfoot.
Chorus 3 That would explain the state of your face.
Chorus 4 Not to mention body.
Donna Cheek! Most women would die for a body like mine. I’m such a perfect specimen of womanhood, I’m considering leaving my body to medical science.
Chorus 5 You’d be better off leaving it to science fiction.
Donna Clear off, before I kick you all up the casbah! (chases Chorus off SL) And now that they’ve gone, I’ll introduce myself properly. I’m Donna Baba, a poor and surprisingly young, widow. My late husband died in a freak accident, when he backed into a working lathe and gave himself a nasty turn. I sank all the insurance money into this here barber shop. And so far, it’s been a complete disaster. It’s all the fault of my two sons. Rhum and Ali. Rhum can’t tell the difference between a crew cut and a full perm. And my eldest son Ali, disappeared two years ago and I haven’t seen him since. He never even sent me a letter, to tell me he’s all right. Leaving me to worry day and night about what might have happened to him. If he ever turns up again, I’ll flaming well kill him! I’d better go and find Rhum. He should have opened the shop an hour ago. See you later folks. (waves and exits SR)
Rhum (enters SL) Hello boys and girls! Welcome to old Cairo! My name’s Rhum Baba and I’m a barber. Now you all look a cut above, and I was wondering if you’d all like to be my friends? Well would you? (response) Great. Now every time I come on, I’ll shout Rhum-tiddly-om-pom! And you can all shout back, pom-pom! Let’s try it then. (exits and re-enters) Rhum-tiddly-om-pom! (response) Let’s do it again. And this time I want you to open your mouths so wide, I can look past your tonsils and see what you had for breakfast. (repeats business – points) Cornflakes, boiled egg, Vindaloo curry!?
Customer enters (SR) wearing a black curly wig under his turban.
Rhum A customer! (to Man) Good morning sir, and what can I do for you today?
Man I’d like a short back and sides please.
Rhum Certainly sir. (shows him to the chair) Please take a seat.
Man Shouldn’t we go inside the shop?
Rhum No. Our electric’s been cut off, so we’re doing customers outside today.
Man Then it’s a good job it’s nice and sunny. (sits)
Rhum (places a cape around Man, removes his turban and lots of tiny dots of white paper fall out) I see you have a touch of dandruff, sir.
Man You’re telling me. I’ve tried everything to clear it, but nothing seems to work.
Rhum I’ve got just the thing for you, sir. (produces a small bottle) This will get rid of your dandruff, in five seconds flat.
Man Five seconds!?
Rhum If not sooner.
Customer That sounds marvellous! I’ll have some.
Rhum Now I must warn you, it’s very strong and might sting a bit.
Customer I think I can cope with a little bit of stinging. Carry on. (Rhum sprinkles contents onto his hair and massages it in) Aaahh! (jumps up) My head feels like it’s on fire! (dashes around stage in a blind panic) Help!
Rhum Hold on! (runs off stage and returns with a towel with FIRE BLANKET written large on it and wraps it around the man’s head)
Customer (soothed) Ooooh! That’s better. (sits again)
Rhum I did warn you it might sting a bit, didn’t I?
Customer It certainly did. Still, it’ll be worth it if it gets rid of my dandruff.
Rhum I’ll just count to five before I remove the towel, and it will all have gone. (gets audience to count along) One…two…three…four…five! (removes the towel along with Man’s wig, revealing a bald head) Woah!
Customer Has it all gone then?
Rhum It sure has.
Customer (feeling his scalp) Aaahh! (jumps up)I’m completely bald!
Rhum Maybe I put a bit too much on.
Customer (wails) All my beautiful locks – gone!
Rhum Yes, but look on the bright side. At least you won’t be bothered by dandruff again.
Customer (draws a large dagger) And neither will you, once I’ve removed your head!
Rhum (backing away) Now, now, sir. Keep your hair on. (to audience) What am I saying!? I think it’s time to throw in the towel. (throws towel containing the wig to Customer) Cheerio! (runs off SL)
Customer Come back here, you charlatan! (runs off after him)
Donna (enters SR) I can’t find Rhum anywhere. But when I do, he won’t know what’s hit him.
Rhum runs on (DSL) looking over his shoulder and crashes into Donna.
SFX: Comedy crashing sound.
Donna Aaaah! (falls to the floor and flails her legs in the air revealing comedy bloomers)
Donna (scrambling to her feet) You clumsy great oaf, Rhum!
Rhum Sorry mum, but a deranged bald-headed customer was chasing me just now.
Donna Why was a bald customer chasing you?
Rhum Because he wasn’t bald when he came in.
Donna (exclaims) What on earth did you do to him!?
Rhum I used that new anti-dandruff lotion, and it wasn’t only the dandruff that disappeared.
Donna You, useless twit! Can’t you do anything right?
Rhum Me!? You’re the one who bought it off ebay!
Donna That’s right, blame me for everything.
Fatima (enters SR and waves) Cooeee, Rhum!
Rhum Oh, no! It’s Fatima from Pharaoh’s Pizza parlour. Every day she comes to the bazaar dressed to the nines, hoping to attract a man. But all she ever attracts are flies.
Fatima (sidling up) Hello Rhum. Do you fancy taking me up the casbah tonight?
Rhum I’d love to Fatima, but I’m afraid I can’t.
Fatima Why not?
Rhum Because I’m just off to join the Foreign Legion. (turns to go)
Fatima (pulling him back) You can’t join the foreign legion, Rhum!
Rhum Why can’t I?
Fatima Because you’re not foreign?
Rhum I’m half foreign.
Donna No, you’re not.
Rhum But you once told me that dad was from abroad.
Donna Yes…in Norfolk. So, how’s the pizza business Fatima?
Fatima Terrible. I haven’t sold a single pizza all week.
Rhum Maybe that’s because they taste like dried camel pats.
Fatima Rubbish! It’s because people are skint, after constantly being robbed by Mustafa Leak and his band of thieves.
Rhum (pointing off SL) Look! Isn’t that Daniel Craig filming the latest James Bond movie?
Fatima Ooooh! He can bond with me anytime. Yoo-hoo, Danny! Wait for me! (rushes off SL)
Donna That wasn’t Daniel Craig. It was just some flea-bitten old camel wandering by.
Rhum They’ll be well-suited then.
Vizier (enters SR) Their royal majesties, the Sultan and Sultana!
Music cue 2: Chorus excitedly rush on (DSL) and get into position ready to greet the Royals. The Sultan and Sultana enter (SR) and all defer to them.
Sultana I wish I didn’t have a title that makes me sound like dried fruit.
Sultan It could have been worse, dear.
Sultan You might have married the Emperor Ming and become a Minger.
Vizier Do your majesties wish me to clear the streets?
Sultan I thought we had road sweepers for that sort of thing.
Vizier I meant, clear the streets of…(indicates Chorus)…common people.
Sultana Certainly not! We need their votes.
Vizier Since when do monarchs, need anybody’s vote?
Sultan Since we decided to enter Egypt’s Got Talent.
Donna But surely, your majesties are already rich and famous.
Sultana Yes, but we’re not very popular right now.
Sultan It’s ever since we introduced a turban tax.
Sultana We? It was your hairbrained idea!
Sultan Whatever. Anyway, we’re entering EGT to try and win our people over again.
Sultana Now, can we count on your votes?
Donna (holding out her hand) Just so long as you pay for them.
Sultana You want us to bribe you?
Rhum I wouldn’t call it bribery.
Sultan Then what would you call it?
Donna The market economy. We have something you want and we’re willing to sell it to you.
Sultana But then everybody would want paying. And we can’t afford to buy millions of votes.
Vizier Then just do what politicians do, when they want votes.
Sultan You mean, cut taxes before the voting starts and raise them again afterwards?
Sultana What a good idea.
Rhum That’s a bit cynical isn’t it?
Sultan That’s democracy for you. (to Sultana) Come along dear.
Sultan and Sultana exit (SR) followed by the Vizier and Chorus.
Kasim (off) Mush! Mush!
Rhum That sounds like Uncle Kasim.
Music cue 3: Kasim Baba enters (SL) riding on the back of a Servant.
Kasim Woah! (Servant halts, Kasim dismounts and feeds them a cube of sugar) Servants aren’t what they used to be. I barely get five MPW these days.
Donna What’s MPW?
Kasim Miles per whiplash. (hits Servant with a short whip)
SFX: Whiplash sound.
Rhum Why don’t you ride on a camel like everybody else, uncle?
Kasim I can never decide whether to have one hump or two. Anyway, peace be upon you.DonnaAnd peace on you too!
Kasim May blessings pour down upon your head and light up your life.
Donna And up yours!
Rhum To what do we owe the pleasure, uncle?
Donna Before you answer that, you’re wasting your time.
Kasim But you don’t yet know why I’m here.
Donna Oh yes, I do. I’m physic and I believe in the hereafter.
Kasim Then you’ll know what I’m here after.
Donna Yes, and you can’t have it.
Kasim I want my rent!
Donna And I haven’t got it.
Kasim Then I shall have to repossess your home.
Donna You’d evict your own sister?
Kasim You’re not my sister.
Donna Yes, I am! Although I sometimes wish I wasn’t.
Kasim I’d always wondered why we looked so different. One of us being so hand, and the other being downright ugly.
Donna I wouldn’t say you were ugly, Kasim. Greedy, yes. Anyway, what makes you think we’re not related?
Kasim I looked up our family tree on Ancestry.com. And discovered that you’d been adopted by my parents, who found you abandoned outside their kebab shop.
Rhum That would explain why they named you Donna, mum
Donna I don’t believe you, Kasim.
Kasim (producing papers) Then perhaps these adoption papers will convince you.
Donna (checks papers) It’s true! I’m an abandoned child!
Rhum Gosh mum, you must be gutted.
Donna I’ll admit it’s a bit of a shock. But at least I have the consolation of knowing, that I’m no longer related to this…(indicating Kasim)…ratbag!
Kasim And now, back to business. You owe me more money than anybody else. What have you to say for yourself?
Donna (sings) #I’ve got bills they’re multiplying, and I’m losing control…#
Kasim You’ll be losing your home if you don’t pay up.
Donna But I’m too poor to pay.
Rhum It’s true. We’re that poor, all I’ve eaten today are a few flakes
Rhum No – soapflakes.
KasimS oapflakes? You must be mad!
Donna Mad? He was foaming at the mouth!
Kasim Pay up by tomorrow, or out you go! (exits SL riding on his Servant)
Donna Well, son. It looks like we’re about to be thrown out of our lovely home.
Rhum Lovely home! Earlier, you called it in a rat-infested hovel.
Donna It is. But it’s better than walking the streets. And I should know. Let’s go and check the post. Who knows, maybe I’ve won some foreign lottery I’ve never even heard of.
Rhum Everybody wins those, mum.
They exit (USR) Kids dressed as postie’s run on and perform a routine. Music cue 4: Postie’s. After song ends…All exit. Donna and Rhum re-enter (USR) Donna is holding a stack of brown envelopes.
Donna Look at these. I’ve got more bills than a gaggle of geese.
Ali Baba enters (DSL) with Sopwith.
Rhum It’s Ali, mum! He’s come home!
Donna Ali! Where on earth have you been for the past two years?
Ali I’ve been in the Foreign Legion, mum.
Rhum How come they let you in?
Ali (foreign accent) I put on ze foreign accent.
Donna Why didn’t you tell me where you where, instead of letting me worry all these years?
Ali But I sent you a note by carrier pigeon, as soon as I arrived at camp.
SFX: A Pigeon is lowered from above with a note attached to its leg.
Donna I see you sent it second class. (takes note pigeon exits – reads note) Dear mum don’t wait up.
Ali I’m not very big on letter writing.
Rhum Why did you join the Foreign Legion anyway, Ali?
Ali To forget.
Rhum To forget what?
Ali I’ve forgotten. Which is why I’ve returned home.
Donna Just in time to leave it again.
Ali What do you mean, mum?
Rhum Uncle Kasim, isn’t our uncle after all. And he’s threatened to evict us, unless we come up with the rent by tomorrow.
Donna And I’m skint.
Ali Don’t worry mum, I think I might have the answer.
Donna And what’s that then?
Ali While I was in the Legion. I heard about a lost pyramid, said to be filled with priceless treasures. All we need do, is find it and we’ll all be rich.
Rhum How are we going to find a lost pyramid?
Ali Sopwith here, is an ex-police sniffer camel, trained to sniff out dead bodies. And as all pyramids contain the bodies of dead mummies, I reckon he can sniff them out too.
Donna You’re relying on a flea-bitten old camel finding a pyramid, that’s been buried under the sand for yonks, to save us from being evicted?
Ali Yes, mum.
Donna I’ll start packing. (turns to go but is held back by Ali)
Ali Wait mum! He really can do it.
Donna Prove it.
Ali All right, we will. Won’t we Sopwith? (Sopwith whispers) Good point.
Rhum What did he say?
Ali He said he’ll need a dead body to be buried under the sand, for him to find.
Donna Will Rhum do?
Rhum But I’m not dead, mum!
Donna You are from the neck up, son. (to Ali) Will half dead do?
Ali I don’t think so mum.
Donna I have an idea. Wait there. (exits SR)
Ali What’s she up to now?
Rhum I hope she isn’t about to drag in a dead body.
Donna re-enters wearing a gas mask and holding a long sock in a litter grabber. The sock is full of holes and covered in nasty stains. She removes the mask.
Donna Rhum’s sock smells like a rotting corpse. I’ll bury it over there in the sand…(points SR)…and we’ll see if Sopwith can find it.
Ali Okay, mum.
Donna (exits SL and re-enters without the sock) It’s done.
Ali Okay Sopwith, go find it boy. (Sopwith shakes head) Why not? (Sopwith whispers) You don’t feel suicidal? (Sopwith shakes head) Then lead me to it and I’ll dig it up.
Sopwith leads Ali off (SL)
Donna Do you think he’ll find it, Rhum?
Rhum I hope so, mum. It belongs to my best pair.
SFX: Loud thud.
Ali (runs on in a panic) Quick! Somebody call a vet!
Rhum What’s the matter Ali?
Ali Mum didn’t bury your sock deep enough! I think Sopwith’s in a coma!
Rhum (to audience) Does anybody know how to give a camel the kiss of life?
Donna I’ll do it!
Ali Have you ever given a camel the kiss of life, mum?
Donna No, but kissing your father must come pretty close.
Sopwith immediately comes running in.
Ali Sopwith! You’re alive!
Rhum He must have heard mum volunteering to give him the kiss of life.
Donna Cheek! I don’t believe he can sniff out a real mummy.
Ali Oh yes, he can!
Donna Oh no, he can’t!
Ali Then I’ll prove it, by finding the lost pyramid. Come along Sopwith. (exits SL with Sopwith)
Rhum I’d better fetch my sock. (exits and returns sniffing the sock) There’s a funny smell on it now.
Donna It’s called fresh air, son.
Music cue 5: Dusty and Sandy enter (SR) Sandy carries a bag containing a small gold pyramid.
Dusty Evening all. I’m Inspector Dusty Corner of the Yard, and this is Constable Sandy Bottom. And we’re searching for the most ruthless villain in all Egypt.
Rhum Who’s that then?
Sandy Mustafa Leak!
Donna The loo’s out back, dear.
Dusty No! Mustafa Leak and his forty thieves!
Sandy We’re trying to flush them out.
Rhum Hiding in the drains, are they?
Donna I’d try Mr Muscle. It always clears my blockages.
Dusty We plan to lure them out with this. (produces a small gold pyramid)
Donna A toy pyramid!
Rhum I doubt that will lure them out.
Dusty It’s solid gold, ande’re going to leave it here…(places front of curtains DSL)…as bait. When Mustafa spots it, he’ll obviously try to steal it and we’ll nab him.
Donna But how will you know if he tries pinching it?
Dusty I’ll ask the boys and girls to help us. (to audience) If you see anybody about to pick up this pyramid, will you shout out and warn us? (response) Thanks!
Sandy What’ll they shout?
Dusty Well seeing as it’s a pyramid, and all pyramids contain mummies. They can shout the name of the most famous mummy of them all.
Rhum Joan Collins? (or current mutton dressed as lamb celeb)
Dusty No! King Tut! (to audience) If anybody goes to pick up this pyramid, just shout out, Tutankhamen! Okay? (response) Let’s have a practice then. (business of walking away and sneaking up on the pyramid – audience shout) Wonderful! Now, let’s get back undercover, Constable Bottom.
Dusty and Sandy exit (SR)
Donna I need some dates, Rhum.
Rhum Would you like me to buy you a calendar?
Donna No! I mean the kind that grow on trees. I’m making a fruit cake.
Rhum I know just the place, mum. Follow me.
They exit (SL)