The Benbow Inn
Several Customers sit at tables. Music cue 1: Serving Wenches. After song ends…Wenches exit (SL) Henrietta Hawkins enters (SR)
Henrietta Welcome to The Admiral Benbow! If you’ve come for the karaoke, I’m afraid it’s been cancelled. But you can still have a little singsong. Whenever you hear the old pirates song fifteen men on a dead man’s chest! You can all join in and sing, yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum! Let’s have a practice then. Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest! (response) Wonderful! My name’s Henrietta Hawkins and I’m a widow. (elicit sympathy) It’s sadder than that. I’d only been married a few weeks, when my husband joined the navy and sailed away. A year later his ship sank with all hands, leaving me with a three-month-old baby to bring up on my own. Now, I know what you’re thinking. How could my baby be three months old, with my husband being away at sea for a year. Let’s just say he wrote very passionate letters. Speaking of passion. My son Jim’s taking a fancy to Squire Trelawney’s daughter. But he forbids them to see each other, because we’re so poor. So, they have to meet in secret. By the way I’ve stopped selling spirits, because I make more selling our own homebrew. So, if you hear anybody say I’ll have a stiff one. I want you all to shout, not in here you won’t! Okay? I’m just off to call the Doctor about a personal matter. See you all later! (exits SL)
Jim and Maggie enter (SR) arm-in-arm.
Jim You know how your father’s forbidden us to see each other Maggie, because I’m poor?
Maggie Yes Jim, and it’s so unfair. Money shouldn’t matter, where love’s concerned.
Jim Well, I think he’ll soon be changing his tune.
Maggie Don’t tell me you’ve won the lottery?
Jim No! But I might soon be richer than a lottery winner.
Maggie But how, Jim?
Jim I intend to go to sea and make my fortune, by diving for sunken treasure.
Maggie But won’t you need a ship first?
Jim A minor detail, Maggie. Let’s stroll to the end of the carpark and look out over the sea.
Maggie We can’t do that, Jim.
Jim Why not?
Maggie Because cars haven’t been invented yet.
Jim The coach and horses park, then.
They exit (SL) Henrietta enters (SR)
Henrietta I thought I heard Jim and Maggie. (to Customers) Time please! Off you go home now!
Customers exit (SL) as Dr Livesey enters.
Henrietta Dr Livesey, how good of you to call at such short notice.
Doctor Well, it sounded quite urgent Henrietta. Now, what seems to be the trouble?
Henrietta It’s a bit delicate, Doctor.
Doctor (produces a tube of cream) Here, take this and rub it on the affected area.
Henrietta No, it’s not that this time.
Doctor Then what is it?
Henrietta It’s my chest, Doctor. (coughs) It’s terribly rough.
D. Livesey I can see that.
Henrietta Would you mind taking a look at it for me?
Doctor Very well, but I’ll need a drink first.
Henrietta What would you like, Doctor?
Doctor I’ll have a stiff one.
Henrietta (leads audience) Not in here you won’t!
Doctor (produces a stethoscope) On second thoughts, forget the drink. I want to get this over with quickly. (listening to her chest) Mmm…ooh…aah!
Henrietta (worried) What is it Doctor?
Doctor (can’t hear her) Beg pardon?
Henrietta I said…(shouts into the end of the stethoscope)…what is it?
Doctor Aaahh! (removes stethoscope) You could’ve done me a nasty injury, Mrs Hawkins!
Henrietta There’s still time. Now, what did you hear?
Doctor It’s a sort of regular, bom…bom…bom.
Henrietta That’s my heart, you fool!
Doctor I’ve always wondered what that sound was. Now, close your eyes. (she does and he holds a spotted handkerchief in front of her face) What do you see?
Doctor Open them again. (she does) Now, what do you see?
Doctor (removes handkerchief and shouts) Do you suffer from headaches?
Henrietta (holding her head) Well, I do now.
Doctor (spins her around then stops) How do you feel?
Henrietta (holding her head) Dizzy.
Doctor Spots before the eyes, headaches and dizziness? It’s just as I thought.
Henrietta (anxious) What is it Doctor?
Doctor You’re run down.
Henrietta I knew I’d been working too hard. What do you suggest, Doctor?
Doctor I suggest a long sea voyage.
Henrietta Ooh! I’ve always fancied a nice sea-cruise.
Jim enters (SL)
Jim Did I hear somebody mention a sea-cruise?
Henrietta Yes, Jim. Doctor Livesey says I’ve been working too hard and recommends a long sea-cruise.
Jim I’ll come with you mum. I’ve always fancied spending a lifetime at sea.
Henrietta I was thinking more along the lines of a fortnight, Jim.
Doctor I’ll be off then.
Jim Before you go, Doctor. I have a little problem of my own. (whispers)
Doctor Don’t worry lad, you’re young and still growing. Bye, now! (exits SL)
Jim Was Maggie here earlier, Jim?
Henrietta Yes mum, but she’s gone home now.
Billy Bones (off) Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest…
Jim What was that?
Doctor It sounded like somebody singing.
Billy Bones (off) Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest…
Henrietta Those carol singers get earlier each year. (or ‘it’s a bit late for carol singing’)
Billy Bones enters (SL)
Billy Bones (to Henrietta) Good evening ma’am. Are you the landlady of this here inn?
Henrietta Yes, I am. What can I do for you Mr…?
Billy Bones Bones. Captain Billy Bones. I’m looking for a berth.
Henrietta In that case you want the maternity ward at…(local hospital)
Jim I think he means a room, mum.
Billy bones You’re a bright lad, and no mistake.
Henrietta Rooms are fourpence a night. Sixpence if you want sheets and a shilling if you want clean sheets.
Billy bones I’ll take it as it is. An old seadog like me is used to billeting down in worse places than this. (rummaging in his trouser pocket) Here, let me give you something.
Henrietta No thanks, been there got the ointment.
Billy Bones (takes out a gold coin) It’s a piece of eight.
Henrietta Don’t you have a whole one?
Jim That’s more than enough to pay for a month’s stay, mum.
Henrietta(to Billy) Welcome aboard Admiral! I’ve always loved a naval man. Haven’t I Jim?
Jim Several, if the number of uncle’s I’ve had is anything to go by.
Henrietta Would you like a bath, Mr Bones?
Billy Bones Yes, ma’am.
Henrietta Give him a bath, Jim?
Jim Why? Can’t he bath himself?
Henrietta A room with a bath, you twit!
Jim Okay, I’ll drag the tin-bath in from the yard.
Henrietta And make sure you tip the coal out first.
Jim I’m afraid the only room available is next to the pigsty, Captain Bones.
Billy Bones Now worries, Jim lad. I’m a country boy myself, so it’ll be like ‘ome from ‘ome.
Henrietta And you won’t mind the pong?
Billy Bones No, ma’am. I finds the smell of ammonia clears the old tubes out a treat.
Henrietta I’ll go and get your room ready personally, Captain. (exits)
Billy Bones Now that we’re on our own Jim lad. I’d like ‘ee to do me a little favour.
Jim (moving away) Mum warned me about sailors like you.
Billy Bones Don’t worry, lad. I steers a straight course I do. (produces a coin) Do as I ask and this shiny gold coin is yours.
Jim A gold doubloon! What do I have to do for that?
Billy Bones I want you to warn me if a one-legged man turns up, asking after me.
Jim (takes the coin) You can rely on me Captain.
Henrietta enters (SR) wearing a large peg on her nose.
Henrietta Your woom is weady. (removes peg) I mean…your room is ready Captain Bones.
Billy Bones Thank ‘ee kindly ma’am.
Henrietta Would you like a little nightcap before you retire, Captain?
Billy Bones Thanks very much, I’ll have a stiff one.
Henrietta (leads audience) Not in here you won’t!
SFX: Howling wind.
Fore and Aft enter (SL)
Fore Lock your windows and doors, there’s a storm a-brewing!
Aft (holds arms aloft and sways side to side) Whoo-whoo!
Fore What are you doing?
Aft Showing them how strong the wind is.
Fore It’s a force ten out there. That was more like a gentle breeze.
Aft Then I’ll ask this lot…(indicates audience)…to help me blow up a storm.
Fore (looking out) Some of ‘em look as though they’d have trouble blowing up a balloon.
Aft(to audience) Listen you lot. Whenever you hear anybody say ‘there’s a storm a-brewing’. I want you all to hold your arms aloft…(demonstrates)…and wave them from side to side shouting, whoo-whoo! Will you do that for me? (response) Let’s try it then. There’s a storm a-brewing! (leads them) Not bad. Now do it again and this time let’s really hear that wind. (repeat routine) Well done. Now don’t forget, will you?
Fore and Aft go up to the bar.
Henrietta What can I do for you two?
Fore I could murder a good meal.
Jim If it’s a good meal you’re after, you’re in the wrong place.
Henrietta Ignore him, my food is well-renowned around here.
Henrietta Oh yes, it is!
Fore He means, do you do Bolognese?
Henrietta No, we don’t do Chinese grub.
Jim (to Fore & Aft) Can I get you both a drink, first?
Aft Ta very much, I’ll have a stiff one.
Henrietta (leads audience) Not in here you won’t! (hands tankards to them) Here, try this.
Fore What is it?
Henrietta It’s our own special brew.
Fore & Aft (take the tankards) Cheers!
Jim (to Fore & Aft) Are you both sailors, then?
Aft No, but we’ve seen the brochure and it looks a great life.
Fore It shows sailors lounging in deckchairs and sipping cocktails, around a swimming pool.
Aft So, we’re joining up.
Henrietta What brochure was this in?
Fore This one. (produces a brochure) See?
Henrietta That’s a cruise-ship, you fools! And those people are passengers!
Billy Bones Aye! Real sailors have to climb the rigging, mop the decks and eat ship’s biscuits.
Billy Bones It’s true I tell ‘ee! And if they complain they get a lick of the cat.
Fore (grimacing) Uggh! I could never lick a cat!
Jim It’s a cat ‘o’ nine tails.
Fore I don’t care how many tails it has.
Billy Bones It’s a whip, you fool!
Fore A whip! On second thoughts, I don’t think I want to be a sailor after all.
Aft Me neither.
SFX: Howling wind.
Blind Pew enters (SL) tapping the floor with a stick.
Pew Batten down the hatches! There’s a storm a-brewing! (response) It sounds like it’s getting worse.
Henrietta If you think it’s bad now, just you wait until the second act.
Jim Can I help you Mr…?
Jim I said this place needed airing mum.
Pew Most people call me, Blind Pew.
Henrietta Why’s that then?
Pew Dark glasses, white stick…hello!
Jim Are you after a room, Mr Pew?
Pew No, I be looking for a man called Billy Bones.
A terrified Billy Bones shakes his head.
Henrietta There’s nobody here, apart from my son Jim and a couple of would-be sailors.
Pew What about your husband?
Henrietta I’m a widow.
Pew Your husband’s dead?
Henrietta Is there any other way?
Pew (walks around tapping with his stick) I smells something fishy.
Jim That’ll be the beer.
Henrietta Yes, we brew it ourselves.
Pew What from, fish heads and parrot droppings?
Fore and Aft take a swig from their tankards.
Henrietta How did you guess?
Fore and Aft immediately spray out their drinks.
Jim I’m afraid the man you’re looking for isn’t here, Mr Pew.
Pew Very well then, I’ll take my leave. (sings) Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest…
Billy Bones (with audience) Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!
Pew Aha! (grabs Billy) Tricked you, you dirty swab! No pirate can resist joining in that song.
Billy Bones (terrified) Get him off me Mrs Hawkins, he’ll give me the black spot!
Henrietta Oh, stop worrying. I’ve been given worse than that by sailors and it hasn’t done me any harm.
Pew Take this, you scurvy swab! (thrusts a note into Billy’s hand) Me and the rest of the crew will be back later, to get what’s ours. (exits laughing)
Billy Bones (wails) The black spot! I knew it! They’ve given me the black spot!
Fore What’s the black spot?
Billy Bones (terrified) It’s the pirate’s death warrant! I must away before they come for me!
Aft Who’ll come for you, Captain Bones?
Billy Bones The whole crew from Flint’s ship! They’ll stop at nothing to get their hands on me chest!
Henrietta (hoists her chest) I know just how you feel.
Billy Bones I’ll be dead afore morning! (clutches his heart and drops to the floor dead) Aaahh!
Aft He wasn’t kidding, was he?
Jim Is there a Doctor in the house?
Doctor Livesey runs on.
Henrietta I thought you’d gone already?
Doctor I stopped off to use your outside lav. What’s the problem now?
Jim This sailor has just collapsed, Doctor.
Doctor Let me take a look. (checks Billy) I’m afraid this sailor has spliced his last main brace.
Jim Do you know what killed him, Doctor?
Doctor In my experience, most people die from lack of breathing.
Henrietta I think he’s had a corona!
Jim No, mum. We don’t sell Mexican beer.
Billy (suddenly alive again) I’m not long for this world and I wants to give you something afore I go, Jim lad.
Jim What is it Captain Bones?
Billy bones When I’ve gone you can have my…(clutches his chest)…aarrgh! (dies again)
Fore He’s a gonner.
Jim I wonder what he was going to give me?
Aft Probably rabies if you’re not careful.
Billy Bones (suddenly alive again) It’s my treasure chest!
Henrietta There’s life in the old dog yet!
Billy Bones Inside it is the key to untold treasure.
Henrietta How can it be untold, when you’ve just told us about it?
Billy Bones Well I can’t untell you, now can I? I likes the cut of your jib young Jim, and I wants you to have it all…(clutches his chest)…aarrgh! (dies again)
Jim I think he’s really gone this time mum.
Billy Bones (suddenly alive again) One more thing!
Henrietta (clutching her chest) Aaah! I wish he wouldn’t keep on doing that!
Billy Make sure you get the treasure before those rotten pirates! (clutches his chest) I’m going! I’m going! (one last breath and he’s finally dead)
Jim Has he really gone this time, Doctor?
Doctor I expect so. Well, you can only die so many times, can’t you? I’d better go and inform the coroner. (exits)
Jim Do you think his chest is full of treasure, mum?
Henrietta There’s only one way to find out, Jim. Bring it in here and let’s take a look.
Jim Yes mum. (exits and returns, dragging on the chest)
Henrietta Right then, let’s see what’s inside. (opens the chest) There’s nothing in here but a tatty old map and a dirty magazine. (takes out a magazine and blows dust off it) I said it was dirty, didn’t I? (to audience) What did you expect? This is a family show.
Jim (reaches in and takes out a map) This looks like a treasure map, mum!
Henrietta What makes you think it’s a treasure map, Jim?
Jim Well, there’s a big red X and writing that says, Treasure buried here.
Fore That must be what the pirates are after.
Aft They’ll ransack the place to get their hands on it!
Fore Then we’d better leave before they get here.
Henrietta It’s years since I’ve been ransacked. I might stay for a bit.
Jim Don’t talk daft, mum. The pirates will kill to get hold of this map! Now come on.
Henrietta Okay. I’ll just put the map somewhere safe first. (takes map and tucks it down her bra) Let’s go, Jim.
Aft What about us? The pirates might think we’re in on it.
Jim Then you’d better come too.
All exit (SR) Pirates enter (SL)
Silver Billy Bones, where are you, you treacherous sea-snake?
Hands (spotting Billy on the floor) There he is, Cap’n!
Silver Get up Billy, you drunken swab! Get up I say!
Morgan I think he’s dead, Long John!
Silver Somebody check ‘im.
Merry (kicks Billy) He’s dead all right.
Silver I wants a second opinion.
Hands (kicks Billy) I second that!
Morgan Where’s his chest?
Pew The usual place, I expect. Between his bellybutton and his chin.
Silver Not that chest! I mean, his sea-chest!
Merry It’s here, Captain! (looks in the chest) And it’s empty!
Silver It looks like we’re too late me hearties, Flint’s treasure map’s gone!
Pew The landlady and her son must’ve taken it and gone after the treasure themselves.
Silver Then we’ll finds ‘em and force ‘em to give us the map, on pain of death!
Pirates Aye, Long John!
Silver Follow me, shipmates!
All Aye! Cap’n!
Silver and Pirates exit (SL)