The Village Of Dungworth
An ancient British Village backdrop. Music cue 1: Villagers. After song ends…
Gertrude What an idyllic life we live here, in the beautiful village of Dungworth.
Morag Yes, but things could change for the worse. If those rotten Romans ever turn up.
Bert The Romans don’t scare me. If they dared to come here, we’ll show ‘em what we’re made of. (to other Villagers) Won’t we?
All (shout) Yeah!
Reg It’s about time we rose up and threw them all out of Britain. After all, what have the Romans ever done for us?
Gertrude They gave us sanitation, Reg.
Morag Thank goodness, too. I remember what this place used to smell like. (holds nose)
Reg All right, I’ll grant you that. Sanitation is the one thing the Romans have done for us.
Bert And the roads, Reg.
Reg Obviously, the roads. That goes without saying, Bert. But, apart from sanitation and the roads. What have the Romans ever done for us?
Reg Yes, all right…
Gertrude Law and order.
Reg Fair enough…
Morag Running water.
Reg All right, all right. Credit where’s it’s due…
Bert And don’t forget the wine, Reg. That’s something we’d really miss if the Romans ever left.
Reg That’s just the sort of comment I’d expect from an alcoholic.
Gertrude And what about the public baths?
Reg What about them?
Gertrude Well, we didn’t have ‘em before the Romans arrived.
Gertrude And now we do.
Morag Plus, Netflix.
Reg Now you’re just being stupid! Anyway, apart from sanitation, the roads, medicine, education, law and order, running water, wine and public baths. What have the Romans ever done for us?
Villagers stand scratching their heads. A Villager runs on (SL) shouting.
Villager The Romans are coming! The Romans are coming!
Bert Everybody run for your lives!
Reg Whatever happened to showing them what we’re made of?
Bert If we stay here, they’ll soon find out what we’re made of. By slicing us up with their great big swords. Besides, we can’t beat soldiers who are tough enough to wear short skirts and no undergarments. Even in winter.
Morag (perks up) No undergarments!?
Bert Not so much as a thong.
Mor & Gert (quiver with excitement) Ooohh!
Gertrude I think we should all stay here and surrender. (to Morag) What about you, Morag?
Morag I’m always ready to surrender, Gertrude.
Reg So, I’ve heard. (draws his sword)
Bert You’re not thinking of taking them on alone, are you Reg?
Reg (pointing at the Women) No, but I’m going to stop our women fraternising with them.
Gertrude What’s fraternising?
Reg (clueless) It’s…er…well I can’t put my finger on it right now, and neither are those rotten Romans. Now let’s clear off before they get here.
Bert You mean, we’re running away?
Reg We’re not running away. We’re making a strategic withdrawal. Then when the Romans least expect it, the British Freedom Fighters, will strike!
Morag And if there’s one thing us British are good at, it’s striking.
Reg Now move it!
Reg prods the Women off with his sword (SR) and all exit. Roman Soldiers march on (SL)
Soldier 1 The whole village appears deserted, commander.
Soldier 2 How come the native villages are always deserted, when we arrive?
Gluteus. M Because the cowardly Brits always run away, as soon as they spot our brave legionnaires.
Soldier 3 (sweetly) I think I’d run away too. If lots of big hairy men wearing short skirts and no undergarments suddenly turned up, waving their big weapons about.
Gluteus. M That’s not what I’ve heard.
Soldier 3 Never listen to tittle-tattle, commander.
Soldier 1 What strange people these Britons are. Right in the middle of that last battle, at precisely 4 o’clock. They suddenly stopped fighting and went and drank some hot brown water with milk and two sugars.
Soldier 2 And they insist on driving their chariots, on the left.
Gluteus. M (looking around) Talking of strange people. Where is my slave, Lurkio?
Soldier 3 I spotted him taking a comfort break, behind a big bush back there.
Lurkio (screams off) Aaahh!
Lurkio enters (SR) carrying a rolled-up umbrella and rubbing his bottom.
Lurkio Flaming nettles! (to audience) Greeting citizens!
Gluteus. M Ah, there you are Lurkio!
Lurkio (to Gluteus) Hail, GM!
Gluteus. M Don’t call me GM, Lurkio! I am Gluteus Maximus, Commander of the British Roman legions. Feared and hated throughout the Roman Empire and booed by pantomime audiences everywhere. I’m a very important man and should be spoken too accordingly. Especially by a slave.
Lurkio Sorry I spoke! (to audience) Oh, isn’t he picky? I knew the producer shouldn’t have given him a main part. Talk about big-headed. If his head was any bigger, we’d have to widen the stage door. But he’s right you know. I am his slave and must do as I’m told. (to G.M) As you wish sire. But seeing as we’re in Britannicus, how about I call you by your British name.
Gluteus. M And what’s British for Gluteus Maximus?
Lurkio Big Bum.
Gluteus. M I like it! Whilst ever we are in Britannicus, you may call me, Big Bum. (pointing to his umbrella) What’s that strange thing you’re carrying, Lurkio?
Lurkio It’s a combined weapon, and essential British weather accessory.
Gluteus. M What’s it called?
Lurkio It’s called an umbrella. It keeps you dry when it rains and is very useful for fighting your way to the front of queues. (fences with it)
Gluteus. M (to Soldiers) Search the village, and arrest anyone you find there.
Soldier 1 Yes, commander. (to the others) Come men.
All Soldiers exit (SR)
Gluteus. M What’s that noise, Lurkio?
Lurkio Thunder, Big Bum. Unless you’ve…
Gluteus. M …No I haven’t!
SFX: Sound of rain.
Gluteus. M Doesn’t the rain ever stop in this country?
Lurkio Well, you have arrived in the rainy season. Or as we Brits call it – Summer.
Gluteus. M I’m surprised the inhabitants haven’t developed webbed feet by now.
Lurkio Never fear, Big Bum. My umbrella will keep us dry. (opens umbrella – rain stops) What do you know, it’s stopped raining. (shuts umbrella – rain starts) I think I spoke too soon. (opens and shuts umbrella several times – rain stops and starts)
Gluteus. M How strange. Every time you open the umbrella, it stops raining. And when you fold it down, it starts again. It must have magical properties.
Lurkio We British call it, sods law.
Britannicus Telecommus enters (SL)
B.T Greetings, Romans!
Gluteus. M Greetings, toothless old crone.
B.T I’m not toothless! I have all my own teeth…(grins widely)…see?
Gluteus. M (looking closely) So you have. Please accept my apologies. Only most Britons we’ve met, have little or no teeth. Due to the complete lack of NHS dentists.
Lurkio (aside to audience) So, not much change there then.
B.T I’m with BUPA, if you must know.
Gluteus. M (to B.T) And what is your name, old woman?
B.T Britannicus Telecommus! But you can call me, B.T. I am a great sage. And I know my onions an’ all.
Lurkio (to G.M) And you know what us Brits do with sage and onions, don’t you?
Gluteus. M What can we do for you, B.T?
B.T I have a message for the Roman Commander, Gluteus Maximus. Or as we Brits say, Big Bum.
Gluteus. M I am Big Bum.
B.T (glancing at his behind) I thought you might be.
Gluteus. M What is your message?
B.T I have been reading your runes, and I’ve noticed that Uranus…
Lurkio Hold on! Hold it! (goes to wing) Can she say that? She can! (to audience) Things have moved on in panto, haven’t they? (to B.T) Carry on then.
B.T As I was saying. Uranus is paired with the full moon. And as a result, you must beware the Ides of March. For they pose a great threat, to your Roman power.
Gluteus. M Nonsense! Nothing can threaten the might of the Roman Empire.
B.T (dances around, shrieking) Beware the Ides of March! Beware the Ides of March!
Lurkio (to BT) Have you ever thought of auditioning for ‘Britannicus’s Got Talent’?
Gluteus. M (to B.T) Be gone, old crone!
B.T (cupping an ear) Beg pardon?
Lurkio (to B.T) On your bikus, dear!
B.T All right, I’m going. But take heed. The end of Roman rule draws near. (shrieks) Beware the ides of March! Beware the ides of March! (exits SL)
Lurkio (to audience) They really shouldn’t let them out on their own you know.
Music cue 2: Basildon Bond enters (SR) and moves around stage, with hands miming holding a gun two-handed style.
Basildon Hail, Gluteus Maximus!
Gluteus. M Hail, rain, snow – the flaming lot! And it’s not even midday.
Basildon Allow me to introduce myself. The name’s Bond, Basildon Bond. Secret agent, and master of disguise. Also known as 007.
Lurkio (aside to audience) 007? He looks more like 003½ to me. (to Basildon) Excuse me, but why are you holding your hands like that?
Basildon Because guns haven’t been invented yet.
Gluteus. M (Basildon) So, we meet at last Mr Bond.
Basildon But we have already met, Commander.
Gluteus. M Have we? I don’t recall.
Basildon That’s because I am a master of disguise.
Lurkio Master of the smells, more like. (holds his nose)
Basildon Sorry about that. My last job entailed me disguising myself as a cesspit cleaner, and I really like to step into my character shoes.
Lurkio (wafting) You’ve certainly stepped into something.
Gluteus. M (to Basildon) So, when did we meet?
Basildon You remember that beautiful young servant girl, from…(local area)…that you took a fancy too.
Gluteus. M You mean, Buxoma from Bristolium?
Basildon That’s right.
Gluteus. M What about her?
Basildon That was no servant girl. That, was me.
Gluteus. M I don’t believe you!
Basildon (giggly girly voice) But sir, I’m just an innocent young servant girl.
Gluteus. M (aghast) Buxoma!?
Lurkio Didn’t you take Buxoma back to your villa, while your wife was away. Big Bum?
Basildon (girly voice) Oh sir, stop it! What kind of a girl do you take me for?
Lurkio Not the kind he thought, that’s for sure as mustard.
Gluteus. M (sheepish) Never mind all that now. What have you to report, Bux…I mean, Bond?
Basildon I have conceived…
Gluteus. M…I don’t think that physically possible, is it?
Basildon (continues unfazed)…a cunning plan, to deliver Princess Britney into your hands.
Gluteus. M Sorry about the interruption. Tell me more, Mr Bond.
Basildon Tomorrow morning. She and her sister, Princess Whitney. Will be travelling to Bognus, for a henus party. Ahead of Princess Britney’s marriage, to Prince Ralph of Wessex. On the way, they will pass by a hostelry called Macdonaldus. Make your way there and hide nearby. I will arrange for their chariot to break down outside Macdonaldus, and that’s when you can leap out and capture her.
Gluteus. M Excellent! And what time should we get there?
Basildon Anytime between twelve and one o’clock would be best.
Gluteus. M And why is that?
Basildon They have two-for-one offers at lunchtime.
Gluteus. M I hate British food. Fish & chips, egg & chips, beans & chips, pie & chips, chips & chips. Why can’t they have good old-fashioned Roman food? Like, lark’s tongues, with’a pasta. Dormice, with’a pasta. And snails, with’a pasta.
Lurkio (to audience) I’ll bet you can’t wait for them open up Roman takeaways, can you?
Gluteus. M And the British weather is almost as bad as their food. It hasn’t stopped raining since we arrived.
Basildon That’s because it’s a bank holiday, commander. And it always rains on bank holidays.
Gluteus. M It is agreed then. Me and my men will make our way to Macdonaldus and wait for Princess Britney’s chariot to arrive.
Basildon I expect I will see you later then. Although you probably won’t recognise me, because I am a master of disguise. (begins to exit SL)
Gluteus. M Farewell Mr Bond!
Lurkio (waving) Cheerio, Buxoma!
Gluteus. M Hold your tongue, Lurkio!
Lurkio (holding his tongue and trying to speak) Ceeritho, Duxthoma!
Gluteus. M Right, that’s it Lurkio! (produces a yellow card and holds it up) You’re now on a yellow card.
Lurkio A yellow card! What does that mean?
Gluteus. M It’s a first warning. I picked up the idea after watching a strange British game called, football. For the first offence you get a yellow card. And for a second offence, you get a red card and take an early bath.
Lurkio That doesn’t sound too bad. I enjoy a nice bath.
Gluteus. M (snaps) Yes, but yours will be filled with crocodiles!
Lurkio All right, there’s no need to get snappy. (to audience) ‘Snappy’? ‘Crocodiles’? Oh, please yourselves. (overacting) Oh, please don’t feed me to the crocodiles, sweet master! I’m far too young and handsome, to die! There’s so much in life I still want to do! (aside to audience) Heartrending, isn’t it? (to G.M) I beg of you! Let me live!
Gluteus. M Very well Lurkio, I’ll let you live. But you’d better behave yourself in future.
Lurkio Oh, I will! I will! (aside to audience) He’s really starting to get above himself, now.
SFX: Thunder followed by rain.
Gluteus. M More rain! I’m already soaked right through to my underpants.
Lurkio I thought Roman soldiers didn’t wear undergarments.
Gluteus. M They’re for officers only. Now let’s return to my villa and get dried out.
They exit (SR) Britney & Whitney enter (SL) singing, to the tune of #We’re Going To Ibiza#
Brit & Whit #Woh! We’re off to sunny Bognus. Woh! We’re gonna get ‘ammered#
Whitney How much further is it to the charioteer’s?
Britney It’s not far now, sis’. We’re almost there.
Whitney Why didn’t daddy just order a chariot to pick us up from home?
Britney Because the last time daddy ordered a chariot, we ended up with an old dung cart, pulled by an even older donkey. So, this time we’re picking up our own.
Whitney (spots audience) ‘Ere, Britney! Have you seen…(indicating audience)…this lot?
Britney They must be following us, hoping to gate-crash my hen party. (to audience) Listen here, you lot. The only people invited to my do, are royalty and rich people.
Whitney And beautiful people, like us. (to audience) And we are beautiful, ain’t we? (response)
Brit & Whit Oh yes, we are!
Britney (to audience) How dare you! Don’t you know who we are?
Whitney Tell ’em sis’.
Britney I’m Princess Britney. And this is my sister, Princess Whitney. And we’re on our way to pick up a chariot, to take us to my hen party. ‘Cos I’m about to marry Prince Ralph, innit!
Whitney And I’m her best man…I mean, woman.
Britney Don’t give the game away, dear. (to audience) I’ve even picked my own song for the wedding. Would you like to hear it? (response) We’ll you’re going too anyway. (to Whitney) Hit it sis’! Music cue 3: Britney & Whitney. After song ends…
Whitney We ought to go on The Voice, sis’. We’d be sure to win it. (to audience) Wouldn’t we? (response)
Britney They’re only jealous, ‘cos none of them can sing for toffee.
Whitney As we’ll soon discover, when we get to the community song.
Britney (to audience) And if anybody tries gate-crashing my do, they’ll get dragged away by the Bolsheviks.
Whitney Sounds painful, sis’.
Britney It will be. Daddy’s hired the Russian Mafia, to act as bouncers. Now let’s go and pick up our chariot.
Brit & Whit (exit SR) #Woh! We’re off to sunny Bognus. Woh! We’re gonna get ‘ammered#