Maids are onstage dusting and cleaning. Music cue 2: Maids. After song ends…Buttons runs on (SR)
Buttons (to Maids) Hiya girls! Was that you I heard singing, just now?
Maid 1 We’re just trying to bring a little light relief to the place, Buttons.
Buttons It could certainly do with it. But you know how much the baroness hates hearing the servants enjoying themselves.
Maid 2 We won’t be here for much longer anyway.
Buttons Don’t tell me she’s sacking you lot too?
Maid 3 Yes, and you might be next Buttons.
Buttons (dismissive) Nah! She’s always telling me she needs a handyman about the place.
Maid 4 Then it might be handy if you bluffed it.
Buttons I try and do that as much as possible anyway.
Maid 5 Come on girls, let’s carry on working our notice.
Maids exit (SR)
Buttons (to audience) It sounds like I might have a battle to save my job as butler, here at Hardup Hall, boys and girls. Old Baron Hardup has recently remarried, and the new Baroness is called Grimelda. Grim by name and grim by nature. Ever since she moved in with her two ugly daughters, Bella and Donna, things have gone from bad to worse. But the person I feel most sorry for, is the Baron’s daughter, Cinderella. The baroness treats her like a servant and works her to a standstill. I try cheering her up as much as possible, but things are that gloomy around here, I could do with a bit of cheering up myself. I tell you what, whenever I come on and shout hiya kids! I want you all to shout back hiya Buttons as loud as you can, will you do that? Let’s try it shall we? (exits and re-enters) Hiya kids! (response) I need cheering up more than that. Let’s try it again, shall we? (exits and re-enters) Hiya kids! (response) Great! I feel much happier now.
Grimelda enters (SL)
Grimelda There you are, Buttons. Who was making that infernal musical racket, earlier?
Buttons It was just the maids singing as they worked, mistress.
Grimelda Well tell them to stop, immediately.
Buttons But I thought you wanted them to clean the place?
Grimelda Are you trying to be funny, Buttons?
Buttons Well this is a pantomime, mistress.
Grimelda Then try acting the role as a servant for once.
Buttons Yes, mistress.
Grimelda Now tell me, have you seen Bella and Donna this morning?
Buttons Yes, but I’m sure I’ll get over the shock eventually.
Grimelda They are shockingly attractive, aren’t they?
Buttons They’ve gone to the beauty parlour, mistress.
Grimelda A beauty parlour can’t improve their looks.
Buttons No…(aside)…but a paper bag might help.
Grimelda They’re perfect just as they are.
Buttons Now that’s where I must disagree.
Grimelda (snaps) What?
Buttons (backtracking) W…what I mean is. Even the most beautiful picture can be enhanced, by the right frame.
Grimelda Like the Mona Lisa, you mean?
Buttons Exactly. They’re a couple of right Mona’s. (aside to audience) They never stop.
Uglies enter (SR) arguing.
Bella He fancies me, I tell you!
Donna Nobody could ever fancy you!
Bella You’re just jealous! The moment we met I was swept off my feet.
Donna He was driving a road-sweeper at the time.
Bella And he’s calling round later to pick me up.
Donna It’s his job to pick up rubbish.
Bella How dare you! (goes to scrag Donna)
Grimelda (scolds) Girls! Please conduct yourselves like the ladies you are!
Uglies (subdued) Yes, mamma.
Bella (rubbing her bum) Ooohh!
Grimelda What’s the matter Bella, dear?
Bella I’m covered in bruises, mama.
Donna It’s her own fault for throwing herself at men.
Grimelda How can that give you bruises?
Donna They always move at the last minute.
Buttons I don’t blame them.
Grimelda Buttons! Go and fetch Cinderella! I have a list of chores for her to do.
Buttons But she hasn’t finished that big list you gave her this morning.
Grimelda The lazy child!
Uglies (hands on hips) She’s lazy! Lazy! Lazy!
Buttons Cinders isn’t lazy! She works morning noon and night. Whereas you two, do nothing.
Donna That’s because we’re ladies.
Bella And ladies do not scrub floors.
Buttons Funny, you look like a pair of scrub…
Grimelda …Buttons! (points to wing SR) Fetch!
Buttons (to audience) She treats me like a dog sometimes.
Grimelda Be quick about it, or you’ll find yourself in the doghouse.
Buttons (to audience) See what I mean? (to Grimelda) Just going, mistress. (exits SR)
Donna Why don’t you get rid of that little creep, mumsy?
Bella Yes. He’s always sticking up for our lazy good-for-nothing stepsister.
Grimelda I’d like to, but he’s in a very strong union.
Donna Union! What union?
Grimelda The Domestic Underlings Mutual Partners Society.
Bella (silently mouths the letters, then exclaims) He’s in the Dumps?
Donna Just like your new boyfriend.
Bella (threatens Donna) Watch it, sister!
Cinderella and Buttons enter (SR)
Cinderella You wanted to see me stepmother?
Donna Just look at the state of her!
Bella (to Cinders) How do you manage to get so dirty?
Buttons You wouldn’t understand. It’s called ‘work’.
Grimelda Get about your duties, Buttons.
Buttons Yes, mistress. (to Cinders) See you later Cinders. (exits SR)
Grimelda Why haven’t you finished your chores, Cinderella?
Cinderella I’m sorry stepmother, but I just have so much to do.
Uglies Excuses! Excuses!
Grimelda Have you scrubbed all the floors?
Cinderella Yes, stepmother.
Grimelda And washed all the dirty clothes?
Cinderella Yes, stepmother.
Bella About time too. I’ve simply nothing left to wear in my wardrobe.
Donna Then wear the wardrobe. It’s better than the rubbish that’s inside it.
Bella I’ve got better taste than you.
Donna If that’s taste, then I’m an ostrich.
Bella Go bury your head in the sand, then!
Donna I would if I had a face like yours!
Cinderella (to Uglies) Why do you both argue so much?
Bella What business is it of yours?
Cinderella I just think that sisters should get on, that’s all.
Donna We do get on.
Cinderella Do you?
Donna Yes. She gets on my nerves.
Bella And I get on hers.
Cinderella That’s not exactly what I meant.
Bella (to Grimelda) I don’t think Cinderella has enough chores to do, mother.
Grimelda Don’t you, dear?
Bella No. She seems to have plenty of time to stand here, arguing with her betters.
Cinderella You’re not my betters!
Donna Oh yes, we are! We have better clothes!
Bella Better hair!
Donna Better make-up!
Bella Better shoes!
Donna Better figures! I could go on, but I wouldn’t want you getting an inferiority complex.
Cinderella That’s big of you.
Donna How dare you call me ‘fat’!
Cinderella I didn’t!
Bella I heard her say how fat you were, Donna.
Donna Thank you, Bella…I think.
Grimelda You may be right, girls. Perhaps Cinderella does have too much time on her hands.
Bella And the devil finds work for idle hands.
Donna Or in her case…mama! (laughs)
Cinderella But I already do just about everything around here, apart from the cooking.
Bella And a good job too. We don’t want poisoning.
Donna We’re very fastidious eaters.
Bella I’m fast and…(indicating Donna)…she’s hideous.
Donna I’m used to the only finest haute-couture.
Bella You mean haute cuisine?
Donna Whatever! I’m still not wearing it.
Cinderella I’m a very good cook, actually.
Grimelda In that case. I’ll sack the kitchen staff and you can do all the cooking from now on.
Cinderella Why can’t Bella and Donna help with the work?
Donna Because we must look gorgeous all the time, in case Prince Charming drops by.
Cinderella Why would Prince Charming call here?
Grimelda Their majesties think it’s time he got married, and he’s currently searching the kingdom for Miss Right.
Donna She’s got no chance once he sets eyes on me.
Donna This, Miss Wright person.
Bella It’s just a figure of speech!
Donna Once the Prince sees my figure…(sexy pose)…he’ll be speechless.
Bella Dream on sister. As soon as he discovers what I have on offer…(adjusts boobs)…he’ll fall madly in love with me.
Donna He’d have to be mad to fall in love with you.
Cinderella How can you tell if a man really does love you?
Bella That’s easy. Music cue 3: Uglies. After song ends…
Grimelda (to Uglies) Girls. Why don’t you show these commoners…(indicates audience)…how to greet the Prince when he arrives.
Uglies Yes, mama!
Bella (to audience) Okay peasants, listen carefully as we teach you some royal etiquette. Now whenever the Prince enters, you must all stand. (urging) Stand up then! (they do so) Then all the women must curtsy, like this…(demonstrates)…and say, charmed to meet yoooou!
Donna And all the men must bow like this…(demonstrates)…and say. Charmed to meet you toooo!
Bella Ready then?
Uglies lead audience in the greeting routine.
Donna That was rubbish! Do it again!
Uglies lead audience in the greeting routine again.
Donna They just haven’t got our breeding, Bella.
Bella You’re so right, Bella. (to audience) Sit down again.
Cinderella I’d love to meet the Prince if he turns up here.
Grimelda You will keep out of the way. I don’t want the Prince getting the wrong idea about us.
Donna He might think we’re penniless scroungers.
Cinderella You are. And father will soon be penniless, thanks to your selfish spending.
Grimelda Insolent girl! (grabs Cinder’s arm)
Baron enters (SL) and Grimelda immediately releases Cinders.
Cinderella (runs to Baron) Father!
Donna Who let the binman in?
Bella (snaps at Donna) Now you’re really going to get it! (chases Donna off SL)
Baron I see those two are fighting again.
Grimelda Nonsense Fredrick, they’re just highly-strung.
Baron (aside) They ought to be. (to Cinders) You look tired Ella.
Cinderella I have been up since six o’clock, father.
Baron That’s rather early isn’t it?
Cinderella I had to warm Bella and Donna’s slippers before they’d get out of bed.
Grimelda You can’t expect them to put on cold slippers. It would be too much of a shock for their delicate feet.
Baron I’m shocked they were up that early.
Cinderella They had an appointment at the beauty parlour.
Baron Needed a lot of work doing, did they?
Grimelda Just a little touching up.
Baron More like a complete renovation if you ask me. Well I hope they get an estimate first.
Grimelda Surely you don’t begrudge your stepdaughters a few measly pence.
Baron A few pence! Their last bill was over £500! If this carries on, I’ll be ruined!
Cinderella (takes his arm) Please don’t upset yourself father.
Grimelda I’ll just fetch some of my special herbal tea. That always calms him down. (exits SL)
Cinderella We never seem to spend much time together these days, father.
Baron Your stepmother does tend to monopolise most of my time.
Cinderella And she keeps sacking the servants and making me do their work instead.
Baron Money’s scarce Cinders, and we must all tighten our belts.
Cinderella Bella and Donna never seem to tighten their belts.
Baron Maybe they can’t find any big enough. (chuckles)
Cinderella Oh father, its ages since I’ve heard you laugh.
Baron There hasn’t been much to laugh about lately.
Cinderella No matter how bad things get, we’ll always have each other. Music cue
4: Cinderella and Baron. After song ends…Buttons enters (SR)
Buttons Hiya kids! Hello Cinders. Hello Baron. (aside to Cinders) Does the mistress know he’s out on his own?
Cinderella Yes, she’s just gone to fetch him some of her special herbal tea.
Grimelda re-enters (SL) carrying a cup on a saucer.
Grimelda Here’s your tea, Frederick.
Baron (grimaces) Do I have to?
Grimelda It’s good for your nerves. (hands him the cup) Now drink up. (response)
Cinderella What did they say?
Grimelda I didn’t hear anything. (to Fredrick) Drink up. (response) Be quiet, or else!
Baron Why can’t we have PG tips, like we used to?
Grimelda This tea has been passed down through my family, for generations.
Buttons It must be cold by now, surely?
Grimelda Button it, Buttons! (firmly) Now drink up, Fredrick!
Baron (drinks) Ugggh!
Grimelda Now off you go and have a sleep.
Baron (zombie-like) Yes, dear. (starts to exit)
Cinderella But he’s only just got up!
Grimelda Your father tires easily. He’s not getting any younger you know.
Buttons (aside to audience) He’s certainly aged since he married her.
Baron exits (SL)
Grimelda Buttons. I want you to place an advert for a handyman in…(local paper)
Buttons What about me mistress? I’m handy.
Grimelda Really? Then let’s hear you answer a few simple D.I.Y questions.
Buttons (confident) Fire away.
Grimelda How’s your plumbing?
Buttons Much better now that I’m over my cold, thanks.
Grimelda I meant taps and pipes, you fool.
Grimelda Let’s try again. Where would you put the TV aerial, to get the best picture?
Buttons In the reception hall?
Grimelda And what would you do if all the lights went out?
Buttons Follow them to see where they went?
Grimelda It’s just as I thought.
Buttons I’ve got the job?
Grimelda No, you’re useless!
Buttons When do you want the ad putting in?
Grimelda Right away. (exits SL)
Buttons She must be getting ready to sack me, Cinders.
Cinderella I hope not Buttons, you’re the only friend I’ve got. And poor father doesn’t seem to have a mind of his own anymore.
Buttons Your stepmother does seem to have him well trained.
Cinderella I’d like to know what’s in that special tea, she keeps feeding him.
Buttons Me too. What’s so special about it anyway?
Cinderella I don’t know, but he seems to change whenever he drinks it.
Buttons Maybe she’s putting something in it. And I don’t mean milk and sugar.
Uglies (shouts off) Cindereeella!
Cinderella Oh no, I forgot to run their baths! Excuse me Buttons! (runs off SR)
Uglies enter (SL)
Donna Where’s that lazy good-for-nothing, Cinderella?
Buttons She’s gone to run your baths.
Bella Then while it’s ready, we might as well watch our favourite programme, DIY SOS.
Buttons (if no longer on TV) I thought that programme finished ages ago!
Donna They’re repeating it on UK Gold.
Bella Fetch the telly in, Buttons.
Buttons Righto. (exits SR and returns pushing on a TV set – he places it centre stage. The Uglies bring chairs forward and sit in front of the TV facing the audience)
Donna Now go and fetch us some snacks.
Buttons What would you like?
Donna I’ll have four bags of crisps, 3 pork-pies, 2 packets of Oreo’s and a pack of Guinness.
Bella And I’ll have a dozen sausage rolls, a Jumbo bag of peanuts, two packs of chocky-bickies, and a six pack of Stella.
Buttons Are you sure I can’t get you anything else? Aperitif maybe?
Donna No thanks, we’ve got our own.
Uglies (big grins) See?
Buttons (aside to audience) The last time I saw teeth like that, there was a jockey sitting behind them.
Donna Besides, we must watch our figures.
Buttons Yes. (aside) Watch them expanding.
Bella Hurry up Buttons, it’s starting!
Buttons exits (SR) leaving the Uglies staring at the TV.DonnaNick Knowles doesn’t look his usual handsome self, in this episode. What are those bolts sticking out of his neck?
Bella It must be the latest fad.
Donna I’ve heard of body piercing, but that’s ridiculous.
Bella Sssshh! He’s about to go through the front door.
SFX: Crunching sound.
Donna Shouldn’t he have opened it, first?
Bella Nick knows what he’s doing.
Donna The home-owner seems a bit shocked.
SFX: Squelching sound.
Donna Aaahh! Nick’s just ripped the owner’s arm off!
Bella I’m sure it was just an accident.
Donna Mind you, they do say that ninety percent of all accidents happen in the home.
Bella Maybe we ought to get out a bit more then.
Donna (screams) Aaahh! Now Nick’s ripped the owner’s head off! Ugghh! What a mess!
Bella Don’t worry, he’ll open a tin of paint and have the place looking lovely in no time. You can always rely on Nick to add a splash of colour.
Donna The only colour I see is red, and it’s splashed all over the floor! Are you sure this is DIY SOS?
Bella Of course, I am! I’d recognise Nick anywhere.
Donna Let me see. (picks up TV guide) This is not DIY SOS! It’s Frankenstein!
Bella What’s Nick Knowles doing in a horror movie?
Donna (pointing) That isn’t Nick Knowles! It’s Frankenstein!
Bella Are you sure?
Donna Well his skin’s green for starters!
Bella I thought he looked a bit peaky.
Donna I’m turning it over. (points the remote at the TV) Music cue 5:
Uglies (immediately scream and sit back in horror) Aaahh!
Buttons runs (SR) and sees the Uglies hugging each other in fright.
Buttons What’s the matter with you two?
Bella (pointing at the TV) Turn it off, Buttons!
Donna It’s horrible!
Buttons I thought you liked DIY SOS.
Bella Donna switched it to Vets 24/7, just as they were giving an constipated cow an enema.
Buttons Bring back bad memories did it?
Donna Take it away, quick!
Buttons takes TV off (SL)
Bella I’m all cold and clammy now.
Donna Me too. Let’s have our baths and then go for some retail therapy.
Bella Good idea, sis’.