The Kingdom Of Ruritania
Music cue 5: Villagers. After song ends…Villagers exit either side.
Buttons runs on (SR) carrying a parcel.
Buttons Hello everybody! (response) My name’s Buttons, and I’m the Butler at Hardup Hall. And now that you all know my name, perhaps you can tell me yours. I’ll say, hello everybody, my name’s Buttons, what’s yours?’ And you all shout out your names. Ready? Hello everybody, my name’s Buttons, what’s yours? (response) Who said, mine’s a pint? Anyway, now that we’re all on first name terms, I’ll let you into a little secret. I’ve just fallen in love with somebody. (to woman in audience) No dear, it’s not you, return to your seat. The person I’m in love with, is Baron Hardup’s daughter, Cinderella. And it’s her birthday today, so I’ve bought her a surprise present. I’m just looking for somewhere to leave it, to stop her two nosy stepsisters getting their paws on it. (puts box downstage near the wing) If I leave it here, will you look after it for me? (response) Thanks. If anybody goes near it, just shout Buttons up and I’ll come running. Okay? (response) Let’s have a practice then. I’ll go off and come back on pretending to be somebody, about to touch it. (exits and re-enters and goes to touch the present – response) Fantastic! Now keep watching it and I’ll see you all later. Bye now! (waves and exits SL)
Villagers drift back on. Cinderella enters (SR) in a cheery mood.
Cinderella Good morning everyone!
Villagers Good morning Cinders!
Cinderella Has anybody seen my father this morning?
Villager 1 I saw him leaving the bank earlier, Cinders.
Cinderella And did he look happy?
Villager 2 No, he was sobbing uncontrollably.
Cinderella I wonder what’s wrong this time.
Villager 3 (looking SL) You can ask him yourself Cinders, here he comes now.
Baron Hardup enters (SL) looking through papers and sobbing.
Cinderella Whatever’s the matter, father?
Baron I’ve just been checking my bank statements. If your stepsisters carry on spending like they are, I’ll soon be bankrupt.
Cinderella Don’t despair father. I’m sure I can make some more savings.
Baron You’ve made enough sacrifices already, Cinders. It breaks my heart to see you dressed in rags.
Cinderella I don’t mind mending and making do, father.
Baron (spots Button’s present) What’s this? Another expensive item bought by your stepsisters, no doubt.
Cinderella They probably had too much to carry and dropped it. (goes to pick it up)
Audience shout and Buttons runs on (SL)
Buttons Keep your hands thieving hands off…! Oh, it’s you Baron.
Baron Is this yours Buttons?
Buttons Yes. It’s a present for someone, and they’re…(audience)…minding it for me.
Cinderella Is it for someone special, Buttons?
Buttons Yes, Cinders. Someone very special.
Baron I wish I could still afford to buy stuff. I think I’d better return to the bank, Cinders.
Cinderella Are you going to ask them to extend your overdraft?
Baron No. I’m going to do what any desperate person in my position would do.
Buttons You’re going to rob a bank!?
Baron No! I’m going to grovel at the bank manager’s feet. (exits SL)
Buttons Your father doesn’t seem his usual jolly self today, Cinders. Is anything the matter?
Cinderella He’s worried about going bankrupt, due to my stepsisters spending.
Buttons I didn’t realise things were that bad. Would it help if I took a pay cut?
Cinderella It’s very kind of you Buttons, but I know very well you haven’t been paid in ages.
Buttons That’s true. Music cue 5: Buttons, Cinders, and Villagers. After song ends…Chorus exit. Uglies enter (SL) carrying bags from cheapo shops like Matalan and, Primark.
Sciatica What a pathetic shopping experience that was, Pepsi.
Dyspepsia Some days are just a total waste of makeup, Sci.
Sciatica There aren’t enough designer shops around here, to cater for super-models like us.
Cinderella Have you both been spending again?
Dyspepsia Of course!
Sciatica There’s nothing else to do in this dump.
Cinderella Ruritania isn’t a dump. It’s a lovely place.
Buttons (aside) Well it was, until they arrived.
Cinderella (to Uglies) But father can’t afford your constant spending.
Dyspepsia He’s meaner than old Mr Scrooge, if you ask me.
Cinderella Father’s no Scrooge. But he is running out of money.
Buttons And what have you bought this time?
Sciatica We’ve bought a new spring wardrobe…
Dyspepsia Summer wardrobe…
Sciatica Autumn wardrobe…
Dyspepsia And winter wardrobe.
Sciatica And now we have all these wardrobes, we’ll need some new clothes to put in them.
Dyspepsia So, we’re off shopping again tomorrow.
Cinderella If you carry on spending like this, father will soon be ruined.
Sciatic a It’s hardly our fault he hasn’t got two ha’pennies to rub together.
Dyspepsia We warned mother against marrying him in the first place.
Sciatica But she was a flighty, foolish, flibbertigibbet of a girl. Who’d fallen head over heels for his wicked wiles.
Dyspepsia A naive and innocent young girl, easily mizzled by the ways of nasty men.
Dyspepsia Yes, mizzled!
Sciatica Hold on a minute. (exits and re-enters with a script – tapping it with her finger) It’s mislead, you idiot! (chucks script offstage)
Dyspepsia Whatever. And now the Baron’s had his wicked way with mumsy. He wants to make us pay for it, by stopping our only pleasures in life. Shopping and eating.
Sciatica We bought you a present to play with in the bath, Cinderella.
Cinderella What is it? A rubber duck?
Dyspepsia No. An electric toaster.
Uglies laugh hysterically.
Siatica And we bought you a comfy chair, Buttons.
Buttons Is it a gaming chair?
Dyspepsia More like a game-over chair.
Sciatica I’ll plug it in.
Dyspepsia And I’ll throw the switch.
Uglies laugh hysterically.
Sciatica I’m totally famished sis’.
Dyspepsia Me too.
Buttons You don’t look famished to me. The exact opposite in fact.
Sciatica Maybe we should tell mother to stop his Christmas bonus.
Buttons (surprised) I’m getting a Christmas bonus!?
Buttons Is it money?
Buttons A bottle of whisky?
Buttons A big Turkey?
Dyspepsia No, but you’re getting warmer.
Buttons What is it then?
Sciatica A budgie and a bicycle pump!
Uglies laugh. Baron and Baroness enter (SL) the Baron holds a bank statement.
Baron But we can’t afford it I tell you!
Baroness I didn’t realise I was marrying a penny-pincher!
Dyspepsia What’s the old skinflint complaining about now, mumsy?
Baron I’ll tell you! (tapping the paper) Ballet lessons! Singing lessons! Acting classes! Beauty treatments! I can’t afford them!
Sciatica Then don’t have them.
Baron If your reckless spending continues. I’ll be bankrupt within a week!
Dyspepsia Maybe you ought to tell Cinderella to cut down a bit more, then.
Baron On what?
Sciatica Makeup for starters.
Dyspepsia It’s only wasted on her anyway.
Cinderella But I wear hardly any as it is.
Buttons Whereas you two wear more slap than a crowd of cross-dressing clowns.
Baroness Take no notice of Buttons, girls. He’s just below stairs.
Sciatica (snaps) He’ll be below ground in a minute!
Dyspepsia What kind of a name is Buttons? anyway? Why can’t he have a proper Butler’s name, like Jeeves, or something?
Sciatica It could’ve been worse, sis’. He might’ve been called, Zipper!
Uglies laugh hysterically.
Cinderella It doesn’t matter what anybody’s called. It’s what’s in their heart that counts.
Dyspepsia More like, what’s in their wallets.
Sciatica The second question I always ask a man is, do you have a platinum credit card?
Buttons And what’s the first question you ask them?
Dyspepsia How big is your portfolio?
Baron (to Baroness) I’m off home to try and sort out our finances. (exits USR)
Baroness Come along girls. Let’s get back to that crumbling ruin we’re forced to live in. Cinderella! Pick a brush up from B&Q and sweep all the chimneys by tea-time.
Cinderella But there are dozens of chimneys in Hardup Hall, stepmother.
Baroness Then the sooner you get started, the better.
Buttons Don’t worry Cinders, I’ll give you a hand.
Cinderella Thanks, Buttons. I’ll see you later then. (exits sadly SL)
Sciatica (sarcastic) Thanks Buttons!
Dyspepsia (sarcastic) See you later!
Sciatica What a pair of sickly creeps.
Dyspepsia It makes me want to puke.
Buttons A bit like when you look in the mirror?
Sciatica How dare you!
Baroness Just for that. I forbid you to help Cinderella clean the chimneys, Buttons.
Buttons Aaahh, that’s not fair!
Baroness Then mind what you say in future. Now let’s go home.
All exit (USR) Fairy Godmother and Fairies enter (DSR)
Fairy. G (to Fairies) I think I’m going to have my work cut out with those three.
Moonbeam Why don’t you cast a spell and turn them all into frogs?
Fairy. G The fairy code forbids us to use our magic on humans. But we can influence things, indirectly.
Twinkle How do you mean, Fairy Godmother?
Fairy. G For example. We can’t prevent somebody from jumping off a cliff, but we can make sure there’s a big soft mattress for them to land on.
Moonbeam So, we need a big soft mattress to help Cinderella?
Fairy. G (to audience) I despair of my students at times. (to Fairies) Come along girls, you still have much to learn.
All exit (SR) The King and Prince Charming enter (USL) and move (CS)
Prince Why have you brought me to the village today, father?
King I wanted to talk to you about your wedding plans, Charming. And I’m hoping the fresh air will clear your mind, and help you see sense.
Prince I keep telling you father. I will marry just as soon as I’ve met the right girl.
King But you’ve already met dozens of Princesses, each one of whom is now happily married. At this rate there won’t be any eligible ones left.
Prince Why must I marry a Princess anyway?
King Because only a Princess is the right person for a Prince.
Prince But surely, the right person is the one I fall in love with.
King Royal duty must take precedence over love, Charming.
Prince I disagree. I believe that one should only marry for love.
King Then you might never become King.
Prince What do you mean, father?
King The constitution states, that the heir to the throne must marry before the age of twenty-one or forfeit the crown. Which then passes to the next in line.
Prince And who is that?
King Uncle Rupert.
Prince But Uncle Rupert wears women’s clothing and tells fortunes for a living.
King That’s because he believes he’s the reincarnation of Gypsy Rose Lee. The monarchy wouldn’t last five minutes with him in charge.
Prince I’m sorry father, but I won’t be forced into marrying somebody I don’t love.
King Which is why I’ve organised a royal ball, for tomorrow night.
Prince For what purpose?
King So that you can chose a bride, from the last few eligible Princesses left.
Prince But, father!
King No buts, Charming. It’s your duty to fall in love at the royal ball, and that’s final. The future of the monarchy is at stake. (exits USR)
Prince The future of the monarchy might be at stake, but so is my future happiness.
Dandini (enters DSR) Hello, your highness! Fancy meeting you here.
Prince (glumly) Hello, Dandini.
Dandini Is something wrong, your highness?
Prince I’ve just discovered, that if I don’t marry soon. I might never become King, and the crown will pass to Uncle Rupert. Or should I say, Gypsy Rose Lee.
Dandini Then you’d better hurry up and get hitched, hadn’t you?
Prince It’s difficult when you’re a Prince, Dandini. You can never be sure if a girl is interested in you, or your title. I sometimes wish I was an ordinary person like you.
Dandini I’m not sure I like being called ordinary, your highness. But if you really want to see what it’s like being me, then why don’t we swap roles for a day?
Prince You mean, swap clothes and pretend to be each other?
Dandini Yes. Apart from underwear that is.
Prince That’s a great idea, Dandini. We’ll swap jackets, and you can have my crown.
They swap jackets and Dandini puts on the Prince’s crown.
Dandini I could get used to this. How does it feel to be a commoner, your highness?
Prince Strangely liberating. Now clear off, Dandini!
Dandini (startled) Eh?
Prince Well I can’t have a Prince hanging around and cramping my style, now can I?
Dandini Fair enough. I’ll just take a stroll down…(local street)…and see how it feels to have people grovel at my feet.
Prince People don’t grovel at my feet, Dandini.
Woman enters (SR) she mistakes Dandini for the Prince and defers to him.
Woman (to Dandini) Your highness! What a great honour it is to meet you face to face!
Dandini Yes, I’m sure it is. Now run along and tell everybody, that Prince Charming is about to brighten up their dull lives, by taking a stroll down…(local street)
Woman Yes, your highness! (to audience) I can’t wait to tell everybody, that I’ve actually met Prince Charming! (sees the present) What’s this? (picks it up)
Audience shout and Buttons runs on (SL)
Buttons Oi! Put that down!
Woman drops the present and runs off (SR) Buttons replaces the present.
Dandini (to Buttons) That’s yours, is it?
Buttons Yes, so keep your hands off…(thinks Dandini is the Prince)…Prince Charming! Forgive me your highness, I didn’t realise it was you. Sorry to have troubled your highness, it won’t happen again. I’ll just leave now. (backs off SL bowing)
Dandini What was that about people not grovelling at your feet, your highness?
Prince He’s clearly an idiot, and that woman was obviously a royal groupie.
Dandini I’m all for groupies. And how will you spend your day as a commoner?
Prince Lunch at the Savoy, followed by a trip to the ballet, I think.
Dandini I’d think again if I were you. KFC followed by a pint might be more appropriate now.
Prince Yes, of course. Silly me.
Dandini Enjoy your day, your highness. I know I will. (exits laughing)
Prince Now then, where is the nearest KFC? (looks SR)
Cinderella enters (SL) carrying several sections of a chimney-sweep’s brush. She manages to drop several pieces.
Cinderella Oh, bother!
Prince (turns) Here, allow me to help you. (picks up the sections)
Cinderella Thank you.
Prince I haven’t seen you around here before. What’s your name?
Cinderella Cinderella. What’s yours?
Prince I’m Prince Char…(correcting himself)…ming’s valet, Dandini.
Cinderella You must know the Prince very well, then.
Prince You could say I know him intimately.
Cinderella Is he as handsome as everybody says?
Prince It’s not really for me to comment.
Cinderella Or is he standoffish, like most royals?
Prince Oh no, he’s very down-to-earth and approachable.
Cinderella I suppose you’re bound to say that, aren’t you?
Prince Look here, the palace is holding a ball tomorrow night. Would you like to come?
Cinderella I’d love to, but I can’t afford a new outfit. All I have is a tatty old dress, that looks like nothing at all.
Prince I’m sure you look wonderful in nothing at all…I mean, wearing anything at all.
Cinderella But I don’t have a ticket.
Prince Tickets are being delivered to every home in the kingdom. Please say you’ll come to the ball.
Cinderella I promise I’ll try. Now I can’t stand here chatting all day, or people might get the wrong idea about us.
Prince Maybe they’ll get the right idea.
Cinderella And what idea would that be?
Prince I’ve never met a girl like you before, Cinderella.
Cinderella And I’ve never met a boy like you before, Dandini. Music cue 6: Cinderella and Prince. After song ends…I must go now. I have lots of chimneys to sweep.
Prince You’re a chimney sweep?
Cinderella No, but I must clean them nonetheless. Now I really must dash. Goodbye! (exits SR)
Prince (waves) Goodbye! (to audience) I think I’ve just met the girl I wish to marry. I must go and tell father at once. (exits SL)
Fairy Godmother and Fairies enter (SR)
Moonbeam That was fast work, Fairy Godmother! Cinderella and Prince Charming have only just met, and already they’ve fallen in love.
Twinkle And now they’ll live happily ever after.
Fairy. G If only it was that simple, Twinkle.
Stardust You mean, they won’t live happily ever after?
Fairy. G Nothing’s certain when you’re dealing with humans. Come along girls. We have work to do, if we’re to ensure a happy ending for Cinders.