Music cue 2: Villagers. After song ends…Sheriff, Smash and Grab enter (SR) with the Prisoners.
Grab Pray silence, for the noble Sheriff of Nottingham!
Smash Pray for the silence of the Sheriff!
Sheriff People of Sherwood! I’m sure you’re all wondering why I’m taking time out from my busy schedule, and gracing you today…
Villager 3 …You’re going to grease us?
Villager 4 (to other Villagers) I always said he was a slippery character.
Sheriff I said gracing not greasing, you putrid peasant! (thinks) Not a bad idea though. (to Smash & Grab) Make a note of that. In future, non-payment of taxes will be punished by being greased in rancid fat, and tied to a lamppost in a rat-infested ally.
Villager 5 (to Villagers 3 & 4) You and your big gobs.
Sheriff Allow me to introduce my new tax collectors. Smash and Grab.
Smash (proudly) We’re his deputies!
Villager 1 Where are your badges then?
Smash (to Grab) I said we should have badges, didn’t I?
Grab Give over. You watch too many cowboy films.
Smash I love cowboy films.
Grab Did you know that all cowboys have three ears?
Smash Oh no, they don’t!
Grab Oh yes, they do!
Smash How do you make that out?
Grab They have a left ear, a right ear. And a wild front ear. (laughs) Wild frontier! Get it?
Sheriff Shut up! This isn’t some silly pantomime!
Smash Well, don’t tell that lot. (audience) They’ve paid good money to watch this.
Sheriff I don’t care…(eyes light up)…money you say?
Grab Yeah, they’re filthy rich here in…(local place)
Smash Yeah, rich and filthy.
Sheriff Then, once we have fleeced…I mean helped, the good people of Sherwood. Perhaps we can lighten their wallets, also.
Grab Shall I start on them now, boss?
Sheriff Later. They don’t look as though they’re going anywhere.
Grab They might when they realise it doesn’t get any funnier.
Sheriff (picking up where he left off) Now, where was I?
Smash You were here with us, Sheriff.
Sheriff Are you an idiot?
Grab Yes, he is. But he’s right Sheriff, you were definitely here with us.
Villager 2 (laughs) They’re daft as each other!
Sheriff Shut up, peasants!
Villager 3 Pheasants?
Sheriff Peasants! Peasants!
Villager 4 I’m not giving you, any presents!
Grab I didn’t know it was your birthday today, Sheriff.
Sheriff It’s not my birthday today!
Grab Whose birthday is it then?
Smash It’s Basil, my hamster’s birthday. (produces a toy hamster, attached offstage with fishing-line) Let’s all sing happy birthday to him. (leads audience and Villagers in singing happy birthday dear Basil)
Sheriff Call that singing? I’ve heard screams from the dungeons that sounded better. (to Smash) Get rid of that rodent, before I let the jailer have it for his lunch.
The hamster is pulled from Smash’s hand and disappears off Music Cue 3:
Smash You scared Basil off, Sheriff!
Sheriff Shut up you fool! We’re here on royal business, remember.
Grab (groans) Not another royal variety show.
Smash The last one was like watching two hours of solid torture.
Sheriff It was two hours of solid torture. You idiots took a wrong turn and ended up in the dungeons.
Smash That would explain the screams, then.
Sheriff I sometimes wonder why I employ you both.
Grab Because we’re cheap.
Smash Yeah! (to Sheriff) Cheap! Cheap!
Grab I didn’t know you could do bird impressions.
Sheriff He certainly has the brains for it.
Smash (flattered) Thanks!
Sheriff (to Villagers) Listen up peasants! Prince John has ordered us to protect you, from Robin Hood and his thieving gang of outlaws. And to fund more bobbies on the beat, your taxes will be doubled every week until he is caught. So it’s in your own interests, to turn him in. Look upon it as a tax incentive.
Grab A tax incentive! (laughs) I like it boss!
Sheriff Mother always said I had a wicked sense of humour.
Smash How is your mum these days?
Sheriff A martyr to her rheumatism, I’m afraid.
Smash All those damp walls can’t help.
Sheriff That’s true.
Grab So, when are you going to let her out of the dungeons then?
Sheriff Just as soon as she’s paid her taxes.
Grab That sounds fair.
Villager 5 We don’t need protecting from Robin!
Villager 1 He’s our friend!
Sheriff Then perhaps you’d like you to tell us more about your, friend.
Villager 1 Never!
Sheriff (to Smash & Grab) Bring him along. A stretch on the rack might loosen his tongue.
Smash It’ll loosen more than his tongue.
Smash and Grab take hold of the Villager.
Sheriff (to Villagers) The sooner Robin Hood is captured, the better for all of you! (to Smash & Grab) Let’s go.
Sheriff, Smash and Grab exit (SL) with Villager. Robin and Merry Men enter (SR)
Robin (cheerily) Come along chaps! Time for a spot of R and R!
Alan-a-Dale What’s R and R?
Little John I think it’s a round of rugby.
Friar Tuck Lots of rough sweaty men grabbing each other in a scrum. I don’t think I fancy that.
Will Scarlett Well, I’m game.
Robin R and R means, rest and recreation. Enjoying yourselves. Letting your hair down.
Will Scarlett Don’t mention hair, Robin. (patting his hair) Fourteen groats this lot cost me. And now look at it, after traipsing through Sherwood Forest. And to think I used to run an exclusive hair therapy boutique.
Alan-a-Dale I thought you were a barber?
Will Scarlett Wash your mouth out with soap, Alan-a-Dale. (haughty) I, am a hair surgeon.
Little John It’s no wonder you charged an arm and a leg.
Alan-a-Dale And I am an optical illuminator enhancer.
Friar Tuck What’s that then?
Alan-a-Dale A window cleaner. (laughs)
Robin Let’s whet our whistle and join in the fun.
Little John (notices the glum Villagers) I don’t see anybody having fun.
Robin (to Villager 2) Pardon me my good woman, but why is everybody looking so glum?
Villager 2 It’s because the Sheriff and his men have just been here.
Will Scarlett That explains it then.
Robin (to Villagers) People of Sherwood, do not despair. I hear that King Richard is heading back to England’s shores this very week.
Villager 3 We’ll all be very weak, by the time he gets here.
Friar Tuck Brothers and sisters! I will feed you in your hour of need!
Villagers We’re not that hungry!
Robin What brave resilient people they are.
Alan-a-Dale If they were that brave, they would’ve eaten Tuck’s food.
Will Scarlett He said they were brave, not suicidal.
Music cue 4: Kate Adie runs on (SL)
Kate Adie Mr Hood! Mr Hood!
Robin Please, call me Robin.
Kate Adie You got it Robin.
Robin (heroic stance) Well, it’s very nice of you to say so.
Kate Adie interviews Robin and the Merry Men stand behind them, playing up to an imaginary camera. One holds up a piece of paper saying ‘hello mum’.
Kate Adie So, how’s everything going Robin?
Robin Fine thanks.
Kate Adie The Sheriff is doubling taxes. Prince John has vowed to hunt down you and your men, and hang you all like dogs. The black death is back in town. The villagers are starving and Friar Tuck’s cooking is getting worse.
Alan-a-Dale Well, at least it isn’t raining.
Robin Yes, mustn’t grumble.
Kate Adie Do you think you’ll win this fight, Robin?
Kate Adie I admire your ability to ignore the facts. Dismiss all logic and continue fighting against insurmountable odds. I salute you sir. (to audience) This is Kate Adie, BBC News, Sherwood. (exits SL)
Robin I think that interview went well, don’t you men?
Little John Let’s return to our hideout, Robin. I have a new fitness routine for us to practice.
Will Scarlett I hope it doesn’t involve swinging through trees. (to audience) The amount of tights I’ve ruined.
Robin Good people of Sherwood, we must leave you now. But we shall return, to help you in your fight against injustice!
Villager 4 What about some loot to help us with our rent?
Robin I’m afraid it hasn’t been a very good week for us, and we haven’t been able to collect much by way of, loot. So, we’ll have to take a rain cheque.
Alan-a-Dale holds out his hand.
Little John What are you doing, Alan?
Alan-a-Dale Checking for rain, like Robin said.
Little John A rain cheque means, IOU.
Alan-a-Dale How much?
Little John How much what?
Alan-a-Dale How much do you owe me?
Little John I don’t owe you anything.
Alan-a-Dale When did you pay me back?
Little John I didn’t!
Alan-a-Dale So, you still owe me then?
Little John No. But I think mother nature owes you a brain.
Robin Farewell, brave citizens!
Robin and Merry Men exit (SL) Courgette and Marion enter (SR)
Marion I love shopping, don’t you Courgette?
Courgette I’m a woman aren’t I? (to audience) No wisecracks, please. I need a new pair of shoes. These old ones are past their best.
Stallholder 1 Just like their owner. (laughs)
Courgette Cheek! I’ve a good mind to take my feet elsewhere.
Stallholder 1 I wish you would! (holds his nose) Phwoar!
Courgette (snaps) How dare you! I’ll have you know I wash my feet, every morning!
Stallholder 1 What in? Cheese sauce?
Courgette (rolling up her sleeves) No, but I’ve had enough of your sauce!
Marion (calming her) Ignore him Courgette. He only sells seconds anyway.
Courgette (picks up a shoe and drops it on the stall) More like thirds if you ask me.
Marion I’m just going for a browse, Courgette. (moves off around the stalls)
Courgette All right dear. (to audience) Browsing’s all the poor girl can afford, ever since the Sheriff grabbed her assets.
Marion picks up a teddy bear from a stall. She drops it and bends down to pick it with her back to the audience.
Courgette (glances at Marion, then back to the audience) Not those assets! I suppose I’d better explain the story, hadn’t I? Well, we can’t put the whole plot in the programme, now can we. It all started when King Richard went off on a crusade, and his brother Prince John took over the throne. But he’s nasty and greedy and employs the Sheriff of Nottingham, to carry out his dirty work. He’s taxing the poor so hard, they can barely afford to feed themselves. Their only hope is Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Let me see now. There’s, Alan-a-Dale. Not very bright. He once tried milking a cow, until somebody pointed out it was a bull. He didn’t get any milk, but he made a friend for life. Then there’s Friar Tuck. He was thrown out of the monastery for having a dirty habit. Will Scarlett. Nottingham’s answer to Julian Clary. And finally, Little John. The Arnold Schwarzenegger of Sherwood.
Marion (showing the Teddy Bear) Look Courgette, isn’t it sweet?
Courgette Very nice Marion. How much is it?
Marion I don’t know. There’s no price tag on it
Courgette Leave it to me. (to Stallholder 2) How much for the bear?
Stallholder 2 Three groats.
Courgette That seems rather expensive for a second-hand teddy bear.
Stallholder 2 It’s been reduced.
Courgette How much was it before?
Stallholder 2 Five groats.
Courgette And how much has it been reduced by, again?
Stallholder 2 Two groats.
Courgette (hands over a coin) There you are then. One groat.
Stallholder 2 But the bear’s three groats!
Courgette Didn’t you just say it’s been reduced by two groats, again?
Stallholder 2 Yes, but…
Courgette Three minus two is one. I went to…(name of local school)
Stallholder mutters as they move away.
Marion (takes the teddy bear) Thanks, Courgette. But you really shouldn’t have.
Courgette Nonsense, Marion. You deserve a little treat.
Marion Speaking of treats. (looking around) I wonder when Robin’s going to turn up.
Courgette Careful, Marion. We don’t want anybody overhearing us, mentioning Robin.
Marion Who’s going to hear us out here Courgette?
Courgette You know what they say Marion. (glancing at the Stalls) Stalls have ears.
Stallholder 1 If you’re looking for Robin Hood. He was here earlier and left before you arrived.
Marion (miffed) But he promised he’d meet me here.
Courgette Perhaps he forgot, Marion. He did have that nasty fall last week, remember.
Marion Serves him right, swinging from trees all day. Why can’t he walk like a normal person?
Courgette I blame Spiderman.
Marion What’s Spiderman got to do with it?
Courgette Well, he only took up swinging from trees after watching that Spiderman movie.
Marion I might as well go home, seeing as Robin’s already been and gone.
Courgette All right Marion. I’ll just go and buy something horrible for the Sheriff’s tea, first. (moves to a food stall)
Marion moves (DSC) lights dim – spotlight on Marion.
Marion I hate living at Nottingham Castle. But staying there is the only way I can help Robin, in his fight against the Sheriff. Although I sometimes wonder why I bother. Music cue 5: Marion. After song ends…Lights come back up.
Courgette Let’s go, Marion. I’ve bought some pickled cabbage, curried beans, eggs, sprouts and gherkins. Plus lots of air-fresheners.
Marion I think we’re going to need them.
They exit (SL)