Several characters have small or cameo roles, leaving plenty of scope for doubling or even trebling up.
Scrooge’s Sweet Factory
Music cue 1: Bob Cratchit and Workers. After song ends…Jan Butty enters (SR) pushing on a tea-trolley complete with a large teapot, cups and saucers. Also plates of biscuits, sandwiches and a small box wrapped in festive paper.
Jan Butty Tea’s up! Come and get it while it’s still hot!
Bob and Workers gather around the trolley.
Worker 1 I’m ready for a nice cup of tea.
Worker 2 Then you’re wasting your time drinking Jan’s.
Jan Butty Cheek! Just for that you can keep your hands off my Ginger Nuts.
Worker 2 I wouldn’t touch your Ginger Nuts if you paid me. The last time I bit into one, I lost a tooth.
Jan Butty You’ll lose the rest of them, if you criticise my tea again.
Bob Cratchit Who’s the present for Jan?
Jan Butty It’s a secret, Bob. I’m just looking for somewhere safe to leave it, to stop anybody peeking at it. I know. (places present front of curtains DSL) There. Now, you lot can keep an eye on it for me.
Bob Cratchit Sorry Jan. But we’re going to be too busy packing and stacking. Why don’t you ask this lot…(indicates audience)…to watch it for you instead?
Jan Butty What a good idea. And so original. (to audience) Will you lot look after this prezzie, for me? (response) Wonderful. If anybody goes near it, just shout snowballs! And I’ll come running. Let’s have a practice then. (to Bob) I’m just going off, bob.
Worker 3 You went off years ago.
Jan Butty How would you like to go off in an ambulance? (to Bob) I’m going off and I want you to pretend that you’re about to nick my prezzie, Bob.
Bob Okay Jan.
Jan exits (SR) Bob goes towards the box – response and Jan runs back on.
Jan Butty (to audience) Not bad, but I’m sure you can do better. Let’s try it again. And this time I want you to shout loud enough to wake the dead. One more time, Bob. (exits – Bob repeats the action and she runs on again) That’s much better.
Worker 4 (searching the trolley) Don’t you have any milk, Jan?
Jan Butty No. I’ve developed a phobia about milk. The last time I tried drinking it, I nearly died of shock.
Bob Cratchit Why, what happened?
Jan Butty The cow sat on me.
Worker 5 What sort of sandwiches have you got, Jan?
Jan Butty What sort would you like?
Worker 5 The sort that’s made of bread.
Jan Butty Very funny. I still haven’t forgiven you, for putting super-glue on my teapot handle yesterday.
Worker 5 You just can’t let it go, can you?
Worker 1 Any chance of a bacon sarnie, Jan?
Jan Butty Sorry, bacon’s off.
Bob Cratchit How come?
Jan Butty The butcher backed into his bacon-slicer and got a little behind with the order. Have a ham sandwich instead. (hands over a sandwich)
Worker 1 Thanks. (bites into the sandwich) Owah! There’s something hard in this sandwich. (opens it and takes out a set of false teeth) Uggh! False teeth!
Jan Butty I wondered where my best pair had gone. (takes them)
Worker 1 That’s the first time my food’s ever bitten back.
Worker 2 I’d like a cheese sandwich please, Jan.
Jan Butty Certainly. What kind of cheese would you like?
Worker 2 I’m quite partial to Gorgonzola.
Jan Butty (passes him a sandwich) Here you are then.
Worker 2 Thanks. (goes to take a bite, then stops) Hang on. (opens sandwich and takes out an old sock) What’s this?
Jan Butty It’s one of Scrooge’s old socks. I must’ve forgotten to take it out last night, after making that sandwich
Worker 3 Why on earth did you leave a smelly old sock, in a cheese sandwich?
Jan Butty Well, how else do you think they make Gorgonzola?
Worker 4 Old Scrooge was right. You are a hopeless cook.
Jan Butty Rubbish! I’m a great cook. I learned everything I know from Jamie Oliver’s first cookbook, The Naked Chef. Mind you, it’s a bit hair-raising doing fry-ups in the nudey. (to Worker 2) How about a peanut-butter sarnie instead?
Worker 5 You actually remind me of peanut-butter, Jan.
Jan Butty You mean, I’m smooth and tasty?
Worker 5 No, thick and nutty
Worker 1 (drinks) Ugggh! This tea’s disgusting! It’s weak as gnat’s water.
Jan Butty That’s because old Scrooge only allows me one tea-bag per week. I have to keep drying it out and re-using it.
Everybody places their cups back on the trolley.
Worker 2 You’d think Mr Scrooge would make an exception for Christmas.
Jan Butty There’s more chance of a politician telling the truth, than old Scrooge making an exception for anything. I sometimes think he hates Christmas.
Worker 3 We work hard Jan, and we’re entitled to a decent tea-break with proper tea.
Jan Butty Then I suggest you take it up with your union rep.
Bob Cratchit I don’t think that’s a good idea Jan.
Jan Butty Why not?
Bob Cratchit Because every time we elect a union rep, Mr Scrooge immediately sacks them.
Jan Butty And who is your current union rep?
Workers Bob Cratchit!
Bob Cratchit Ssshh! Not so loud. Mr Scrooge might hear you.
Jan Butty Whatever happened to, power to the workers?
Bob Cratchit That’s all well and good Jan, but I can’t afford to get sacked. I’m still paying Mr Scrooge back for a loan he let me have, to buy a new crutch for Tiny Tim.
Jan Butty The old skinflint. I’ve never known anybody as mean as him. Do you know, he even threatened to evict me last week?
Bob Cratchit Be fair Jan, you did pay your rent with Monopoly money.
Worker 4 How come you paid old Scrooge with pretend money, Jan?
Jan Butty I was hoping he’d pretend not to notice.
Bob goes over to a cardboard box, picks it up and brings it forward.
Worker 5 What’s in the box, Bob?
Bob Cratchit I’ve brought a few Christmas decorations. We can use them to brighten up the place ready for the staff party.
Worker 1 How can you afford decorations, Bob?
Worker 2 Old Scrooge doesn’t pay us enough to live on, let alone buy decorations.
Bob Cratchit My kids made them last night. It’s only a few paper-chains made from old newspapers, but it’s better than staring at these bare walls.
Worker 3 These walls remind me of Mr Scrooge.
Bob Cratchit How do you mean?
Worker 4 They’re cold, grey and hard.
Worker 5 Old Scrooge won’t like us putting up decorations. He hates anything that reminds him of Christmas.
Bob Cratchit I’m sure he won’t mind. It’s not as if he’s paying for them, is it? Now, cheer up everybody. Christmas is a wonderful time of year, so let’s enjoy ourselves. Music cue 2: Bob & Workers. After song ends…
Scrooge enters (SL)
Scrooge What’s going on here? I pay you lazy rabble to work, not entertain yourselves! (pulls decorations from the box) And what’s this?
Bob Cratchit It’s just a few decorations for the staff Christmas party, Mr Scrooge.
Scrooge (snaps) Party! Party! You’re not holding a party in my time, Cratchit!
Worker 1 But It doesn’t start until after work has finished for the day, sir.
Scrooge And just how do you expect to hold a party in the dark?
Bob Cratchit (puzzled) In the dark, Mr Scrooge?
Scrooge Surely you don’t think you’re going to use my lighting and heating, do you?
Jan Butty Heating! That’s a laugh. This factory’s colder than the North Pole.
Scrooge Then it’s lucky you have plenty of blubber to keep you warm, isn’t it?
Jan Butty Cheek! Everybody says I have the body of a super-model.
Scrooge Super-tanker more like.
Worker 2 Jan’s right, it’s perishing in here.
Scrooge You won’t have to worry about the cold anymore.
Worker 2 You mean, we can turn up the heating?
Scrooge No. I mean you’re sacked. Now, get out!
Worker hangs his head and trudges off.
Jan Butty (leads audience) Aaahh!
Scrooge Any sympathisers, can join him.
Jan I never did like him, anyway.
Workers (variously) Nor me. Me neither. Good riddance I say.
Scrooge Put him down for eviction, Cratchit. Now that he’s unemployed, he won’t be able to afford his mortgage repayments.
Bob Cratchit (reluctantly) Yes, Mr Scrooge.
Scrooge And remove those decorations, or you can forget your Christmas bonus.
Jan Butty (surprised) We’re getting a Christmas bonus!?
Worker 3 What is it Mr Scrooge?
Scrooge (snaps) Having a job on Boxing Day! Now, back to work the lot of you!
Workers resume packing and stacking.
Scrooge And you get back to the kitchen, Jan Butty!
Jan Butty All right, I’m going. I only hope I don’t bump into that horrible ghost I met earlier.
Scrooge Have you been at the cooking-sherry again?
Jan Butty No, I haven’t! I saw a ghost in the kitchen this morning, and it looked just like your old partner, Jacob.
Scrooge Jacob? You must be crackers! Any more talk like that, and I’ll have you certified.
Jan Butty Any more jokes like that, and you’ll be ostracised.
Scrooge Get back to your kitchen, or I’ll have you replaced by a vending machine.
Jan Butty All right, I heard you the first time. One day you’ll regret being so hard and mean, Ebenezer Scrooge. You mark my words.
Scrooge How can I regret a life that’s seen me rise from nothing, to become the richest man in London?
Jan Butty (aside to audience) Meanest, more like. (exits with trolley)
Scrooge (to Workers) Go and clear the ice from the factory path. I don’t want customers falling over and breaking anything.
Bob Cratchit It’s very thoughtful of you to think of your customer’s safety, Mr Scrooge.
Scrooge Bah! I couldn’t care less about their safety.
Bob Cratchit Then why are you getting the workers to clear the path of ice?
Scrooge Have you ever tried selling stuff to anybody, writhing on the floor in agony?
Bob Cratchit No, Mr Scrooge.
Scrooge Well, I have. And it wasn’t easy, I can tell you.
Bob Cratchit I imagine not, sir.
Carol Singers are heard offstage.
Scrooge Go and find out who’s making that infernal noise, Cratchit.
Bob Cratchit Yes, Mr scrooge. (opens the door to a group of Singers) It’s a group of carol singers, sir.
Scrooge Don’t leave them outside in the cold, Cratchit. Show them in.
Bob Cratchit (delighted) Yes sir!
Carol Singers enter.
Dickens Merry Christmas to you, Mr Scrooge.
Scrooge Bah! Humbug!
Dickens Christmas, humbug? I don’t think so, sir.
Scrooge What’s your name?
Dickens Charles Dickens, sir.
Scrooge And do you have a licence for singing in public?
Dickens You don’t need a licence for carol singing, sir.
Scrooge What gives you the right, to disturb my peace and quiet with your caterwauling?
Dickens But, it’s traditional to sing carols at Christmas time.
Scrooge Well, I don’t care to hear them. Now, get off my property before I call the police.
Dickens (to audience) I believe I’ve found the subject for my next book. I think I’ll call it, A Christmas Carol. (to Singers) Come along everybody, we’ll get no joy here.
Carol Singers exit and Scrooge walks to (CS) and leers at the audience.
Scrooge What are you lot, gawking at? Haven’t you anything better to do, than sit on your lazy backsides? Who let this riff-raff in, Cratchit?
Bob Cratchit They’re only here to see the show, sir.
Scrooge Using my heating to get warm more like. Throw them out at once!
Bob Cratchit I can’t do that sir.
Scrooge Why not?
Bob Cratchit They might demand a refund.
Scrooge Don’t use filthy language like refund, in my presence Cratchit!
Bob Cratchit Sorry, Mr Scrooge.
Scrooge If they’re staying, then we might as well sell stuff to them. Do we still have that consignment of chocolate mice, Cratchit?
Bob Cratchit You mean, the ones containing real mice?
Scrooge That’s right. I bought them cheap, from the Pied-Piper Chocolate Factory,
Bob Cratchit Yes, sir.
Scrooge Good. Then lock the all doors and sell them to this…(indicating audience)…lot during the interval. And don’t unlock the doors until they’ve all bought some.
Bob Cratchit But what about health and safety, Mr Scrooge?
Scrooge Sell some to them also.
Bob Cratchit But they might make people sick.
Scrooge Then sell them all sick-bags as well.
Scrooge By the way Cratchit, how is that house of yours? Is it still in the same condition as when I sold it to you?
Bob Cratchit Yes, Mr Scrooge. The roof still leaks, the walls are still full of mould and the damp is still rising.
Scrooge Then why haven’t you fixed it?
Bob Cratchit I don’t earn enough to afford repairs. In fact, I was wondering if I might have a pay rise. If it’s not too much trouble.
Scrooge Well, it is! The country faces recession, and who knows what Brexit will cost me. I’ll review the situation next year, Cratchit.
Bob Cratchit Begging you pardon sir, but that’s what you say every year.
Scrooge Then you ought to be getting used to it by now. Of course, there’s always the alternative.
Bob Cratchit And what’s that, sir?
Scrooge (snaps) Unemployment! Now, where are those eviction notices for today?
Bob Cratchit They’re on your desk, Mr Scrooge.
Scrooge And what about tomorrow’s? I might as well deal with them while I’m at it.
Bob Cratchit But tomorrow’s Christmas day, sir.
Scrooge I know that, Cratchit!
Bob Cratchit You can’t throw people out of their homes on Christmas day, Mr Scrooge.
Scrooge Oh yes, I can! (Bob secretly leads audience to say, oh no you can’t) Silence, you miserable wretches!
Bob Cratchit But the bailiffs always charge double on Christmas day, sir.
Scrooge Why those money grabbing, ba…bailiffs! Very well, leave them until Boxing day.
Scrooge If it’s those carol singers again, set the Rottweilers on them. (studies his papers)
Bob opens the door and two female Charity Workers enter.
Bob Cratchit (to Charity Workers) Good morning ladies, and a merry Christmas to you both.
Shirley And a merry Christmas to you too, Bob.
Bob Cratchit What can we do for you ladies?
Marjory We’re fundraising for the poor.
Bob Cratchit (searches his pockets for a coin) Here. It isn’t much I’m afraid, but it’s all I have.
Shirley (refusing it) That’s very kind of you Bob, but we’re not here to collect from you.
Marjory Considering what old Scrooge pays, we ought to donate to you.
Bob Cratchit (making them accept) Nevertheless. I’m sure there are others worse off than me.
Shirley If only everybody was as kind and thoughtful as you Bob.
Marjory Merry Christmas, Mr Scrooge!
Scrooge (head down waves them away) Humbug!
Shirley Don’t mind if I do. (takes a humbug from a jar and licks it)
Scrooge (looking up from his papers) That’s 50p you owe, for the humbug.
Shirley In that case, you can have it back. (puts it back in the jar)
Scrooge That’s still a penny you owe.
Shirley But I only had a quick lick! Scrooge A humbug lasts for approximately fifty licks, which works out at a penny a lick.
Shirley (slams a coin on Scrooge’s desk) There!
Scrooge Now, state your business.
Marjory We’re collecting on behalf of the poor and needy.
Scrooge (stands – mortified) You’re, ch…ch…ch…charity workers?
Shirley That’s correct, sir.
Scrooge Arrgggh! (clutches his chest, staggers CS, gasps and falls to the floor)
Bob Cratchit Are you all right Mr Scrooge?
Marjory I think he requires resuscitation, Shirley.
Shirley I do believe you’re right, Marjory.
Marjory Have you brought the resuscitator with you?
Shirley Yes. (takes sink out a large sink plunger) Here it is. (hands it to Marjory)
Marjory bends over Scrooge and places the plunger over his mouth. Scrooge holds the plunger in place as Marjory pulls and pushes it up and down. Scrooge’s head rises and falls as the plunger is worked.
Marjory Do you think he’s dead?
Shirley With him, it’s hard to tell.
Fred Hopkins enters.
FredMerry Christmas, Bob!
Bob Cratchit (panicking) Mr Fred, sir!
Fred (rushes over) What’s the matter with Uncle Ebenezer?
Bob Cratchit He had a funny turn, after these two charity collectors asked him for money.
Fred I’m not surprised. They’d have more luck getting blood from a stone.
Scrooge breaks free from the plunger and stands.
Scrooge What a horrible experience that was.
Marjory He’s back in the land of the living, Shirley.
Shirley Although he looks like he belongs in the land of the dead.
Marjory Welcome back, Mr Scrooge.
Shirley Now, how much shall we put you down for?
Marjory You wish to remain anonymous?
Scrooge I wish to be left alone! I don’t make merry at Christmas, and I don’t see why I should pay for others to do so.
Fred The poor need our help more than ever at this time of year, uncle.
Scrooge I do help them.
Scrooge My taxes help pay for the workhouses. If they’re that needy, then let them go there.
Shirley But many would rather die than go to the workhouse.
Scrooge (snaps) Then let them die and decrease the surplus population.
Fred You can’t mean that uncle, surely?
Scrooge I surely do. There are too many lazy people in this world as it is.
Bob Cratchit But what about the milk of human kindness, Mr scrooge?
Scrooge I’m lactose intolerant. As far I’m concerned, anybody who says merry Christmas. Should be boiled with his own pudding and used to stuff his own turkey.
Marjory You really are the meanest person I’ve ever had the misfortune to meet.
Scrooge Flattery will get you nowhere.
Shirley Then good day to you sir! Come Marjory.
Fred (handing over money) Here you are ladies. And a Merry Christmas to you both.
Marjory Thank you, sir. And a Merry Christmas to you also.
Scrooge Show them out Cratchit.
Bob Cratchit This way ladies. (shows them out and exits after them)
Scrooge I think I’ll have my front door electrified. That should keep the scroungers away.
Fred Christmas is a time to think of others, uncle. And to share what we have, with those less fortunate.
Scrooge Listen to yourself nephew. Every Christmas you find yourself a year older and not a penny richer.
Fred It’s true, Christmas doesn’t put a penny piece in my pocket. But it lifts my spirits and makes me thankful for what I have.
Scrooge Humbug! The only people who enjoy Christmas are spendthrifts and scroungers. They ought to learn the value of money, like I did. Music cue 3: Scrooge. After song ends…
Fred You won’t dampen my spirits, uncle. I intend to make merry this Christmas as usual.
Scrooge What have you to be merry about? You’re poor enough.
Fred And what have you to be glum about? You’re rich enough.
Scrooge You keep Christmas in your way nephew, and I’ll keep it in mine.
Fred But that’s just it, uncle. You don’t keep it. Why don’t you join me and Elizabeth for Christmas dinner?
Scrooge Every year you invite me to Christmas dinner, nephew.
Scrooge And every year I say, no.
Fred That’s also true.
Scrooge Then why do you continue inviting me?
Fred Because I live in hope, that one-day that hard heart of yours will soften. And you will finally accept my offer.
Scrooge You’re wasting your time, nephew.
Fred Perhaps. Now, if you’ll excuse me. I’m off to help serve free meals to the homeless.
Scrooge You’re giving away free meals!?
Fred That’s right.
Scrooge Put me down for one.
Fred But, you’re not homeless uncle.
Scrooge No, but I provide you with most of your customers. If it wasn’t for me evicting people, all you do-gooders would be out of a job.
Fred You really do take the biscuit, uncle.
Scrooge Are you giving those away free, too?
Fred Good day uncle, and a merry Christmas to you. (turns to exit)
Fred(turns) And a happy new year. (turns and exits)
Scrooge Humbug! That nephew of mine is too soft-hearted for his own good.
Bob Cratchit re-enters.
Bob Cratchit Begging your pardon sir, but it’s past closing time. Shall I tell the workers to go home now?
Scrooge If you must. And tell them not to be late tomorrow.
Bob Cratchit But tomorrow’s Christmas day, Mr Scrooge.
Scrooge (irritated) So, you keep reminding me.
Bob Cratchit Begging your pardon, sir. But it’s usual practice for all workers to have Christmas day off, on full pay.
Scrooge It’s no wonder so many businesses are going bust. If they don’t work on Christmas day, then they won’t have a job on Boxing day
Cratchit But Mr Scrooge, sir…
Scrooge …That’s my final word, Cratchit!
Bob Cratchit Yes, sir. Goodnight sir, and a merry Christmas to you.
Scrooge Bah! Humbug! (exits SL)
Workers enter (SR)
Worker 4 Come along Bob! It’s time to go home and spend Christmas day with our families.
Bob Cratchit I’m sorry everybody, but Mr Scrooge says we must work on Christmas day or lose our jobs.
Worker 5 But that’s not fair!
Worker 1 The mean old so and so!
Worker 2 Trust old Scrooge to spoil our Christmas…again.
Workers trudge off (SL) leaving Bob Cratchit on his own
Bob Cratchit I’d better make sure all the lights are off before I leave. Or Mr Scrooge will deduct the cost from my wages. (exits SR)