Outside Mother Goose’s Cottage
Heidi and Villagers are onstage. Music cue 2: Heidi and Villagers. After song ends…Jack and Jill enter (SR) both look glum.
Villager 1 Look everybody! It’s Jack and Jill, the water fetchers!
Villager 2 Hello you two. Lovely day for fetching water, isn’t it?
Jack & Jill (glum) Not really.
Villager 3 What’s the matter guys? You’re looking a bit down-in-the-mouth.
Villager 4 You haven’t fallen down that steep hill again, have you?
Jack No. After that happened, health and safety made the council install a flight of steps and a handrail, all the way to the top.
Jill It certainly made our water fetching job a lot easier, I can tell you.
Heidi Then why are you both looking so glum?
Jack Baron Hardup has just confiscated our water buckets.
Jill And now we can’t make a living fetching water for people.
Heidi But Baron Hardup’s always been such a kindly old gentleman.
Jack Well, ever since becoming new the tax-collector for Pantoland. He’s turned really mean and nasty.
Jill He turns up and demands payment on the spot.
Jack And if you can’t pay up, his bailiffs confiscate your belongings.
Heidi I can’t believe that Baron Hardup would do something like that.
Jill It’s true, Heidi. The once kindly old Baron, is now the scourge of Pantoland.
Jack Residents are leaving in droves, because they can’t afford the new taxes.
Jack Little Jack Horner, Humpty Dumpty, and Old Mother Hubbard, to mention a few.
Jill If this carries on for much longer, there’ll be nobody left in Pantoland.
Little Bo Peep enters (SL) crying.
Villager 1 What’s the matter Little Bo Peep?
Bo peep I couldn’t pay my tax bill, and Baron Hardup confiscated all my little lambs.
Villager 2 How dreadful!
Villager 3 What’s he going to do with them?
Bo Peep He said if I didn’t pay up by tomorrow, they’ll all end up in shepherd’s pies. (cries)
Villager 4 How could anybody be so mean?
Bo Peep I might not see my poor little lambs, ever again.
Heidi Cinderella will be horrified when she discovers what her father’s been up to.
Bo Peep She already knows. He evicted her and Prince Charming from their palace, for not paying capital gains tax.
Heidi Poor Cinderella. Her own father’s turned even nastier, than her wicked stepmother.
Jack And not even her Fairy Godmother can help her this time.
Heidi Why not?
Jill He confiscated her magic wand, after she failed to pay the new spell tax.
Heidi There must be something we can do to stop the Baron.
Jack Well, I can’t think of anything.
Bo peep Without my little lambs to look after, there’s nothing to keep me here in Pantoland.
Little Boy Blue enters (SL) wailing.
Boy Blue It’s not fair! It’s just not fair!
Jill It looks like Little Boy Blue could be Baron Hardup’s latest victim.
Jack What’s happened to you, Little Boy Blue?
Boy Blue I was on my way to Old McDonald’s farm as usual, when I bumped into Baron Hardup and his bailiffs.
Jill Let me guess. He said you owed lots of back taxes?
Boy Blue Yes, and when I couldn’t pay. He confiscated my solid-silver horn.
Jack The rotten thief.
Boy Blue Now the sheep are in meadow and the cows are in the corn, but without my horn I can’t call them.
Heidi Couldn’t you use a loud-hailer instead?
Boy Blue Yes, but can you imagine all the little children singing. Little Boy Blue, come blow your loud-hailer? The whole integrity of the rhyme would be compromised.
Heidi (non-plussed) Er…yes…quite.
Mother Goose enters from the cottage.
M. Goose What’s going on? Why are you all congregating outside my house? Has my chimney fallen off or something?
Heidi No, mum. We’re just discussing what to do about old Baron Hardup.
M. Goose What’s the silly old fool been up to now?
Jack He’s out collecting taxes with his bailiffs.
Jill And if you can’t pay, he’s taking it in kind.
Bo Peep He’s confiscated all my little lambs.
Boy Blue And my solid-silver horn.
M. Goose The rotten swine! And to think I almost married him.
Heidi (shocked) You did?
M. Goose Yes, he proposed to me years ago. But I was young and fancy-free, with plenty of wild oats to sow and turned him down. And seeing how nasty he’s turned out, I’m glad I did. But don’t worry, sooner or later he’ll get his comeuppance.
Jack We need somewhere to hide, while we wait for him to get his comeuppance.
M. Goose Take them all The Seven Dwarf’s cottage, Heidi. It’s been empty ever since Dopey won the lottery and bought a big house in…(local posh area) They’ll be safe there.
Heidi Yes, mum. (to the others) Come with me everybody.
Heidi exits (SR) with the others leaving Mother Goose alone onstage.
Villager 1 I’m off to barricade my home, to stop the Baron taking all my stuff.
Villager 2 Me too!
Villager 3 Maybe you should do likewise, Mother Goose.
M. Goose I’d like to see him try and get his hands on my bits and pieces.
Villager 4 If that doesn’t put him off, then nothing will.
Villagers laugh and exit (SR)
M. Goose Cheeky lot. (preening) Do excuse my appearance. I’ve had a bit of a lie-in this morning, because I was out clubbing all night at…(local nightclub) Have any of you been there? It’s brill, isn’t it? And NHS Direct said the loss of hearing and constant ringing, should only be temporary. Have you all come to watch the panto? The way you’re dressed, some of you ought to be in it. Now, has anybody seen my son Billy? Or Silly Billy, as everybody calls him. That’s because he has the lowest IQ in Pantoland. He’s that stupid, he makes Simple Simon seem like a genius. He went to market this morning to sell a load of goose eggs, and he isn’t back yet. I’m hoping to get enough money to pay my council tax. Anyway, I can’t stand here gabbing all day. Little Tommy Tucker will be wanting his breakfast. See you all later! (exits inside)
Silly Billy enters (SL)
Silly Billy Hiya folks! I’m Billy Goose! Some people call me, Silly Billy. But I don’t think that’s fair, because I’m actually very clever. For instance. I’ve just had an accident with two dozen goose eggs mum asked me to sell at market, and they all got smashed. But I don’t want mum finding out, ‘cos she’d only shout at me. So, I bought two dozen from Asda and sold them at market instead. Now, that’s what I call clever thinking. (thinks) Hang on. I got less for the eggs at market than I paid Asda. (pulls a goofy face) What am I like? Maybe I deserve to be called Silly Billy, after all. I tell you what. Anytime you hear me say, what am I like? I want you all shout back, you’re a Silly Billy! And it’ll remind me not to be silly in future. Will you do that? (response) Practice time then. (exits and re-enters) What am I like? (repeat until happy) Great!
Music cue 3: Fairy Snow enters (SR)
Silly Billy Eh-up! (to Fairy) Are you the tooth fairy? ‘Cos if you are, you owe me a lot of back payments.
Fairy Snow I’m not the tooth fairy, I’m Fairy Snow, Here to join your little show. I’ll flit about from scene to scene, Keeping everything nice and clean.
Silly Billy Fairy Snow? Sorry missus, mum only uses Bold.
Fairy Snow I’m the good panto fairy!
Silly Billy If it’s a good panto you’re after, love. Then you’re in the wrong show.
Fairy Snow Don’t be silly, Billy.
Silly Billy How do you know my name?
Fairy Snow I’ve read the script, dear.
Silly Billy So, have I and I don’t recall seeing a fairy in the cast.
Fairy Snow I’m not in the cast Billy. I’m a real live Fairy.
Silly Billy Get away! You mean, you can do real magic and stuff?
Fairy Snow Absolutely! Would you like me to give you a little demonstration?
Silly Billy Like what, for instance?
Fairy Snow You tell me.
Silly Billy I could do with two dozen goose eggs, to replace the ones that got smashed. Do you think you could manage that?
Fairy Snow Yes, but it’s not much of a challenge is it?
Silly Billy Then how about making an elephant appear?
Fairy Snow I doubt the stage could take the weight.
Silly Billy It manages to take mum’s weight, okay.
Fairy Snow How about I make a nice goose appear instead?
Silly Billy That should please mum. Then she might forgive me for breaking all the eggs.
Fairy Snow Now, let me see…(thinks)
Silly Billy What’s to see? Just wave your wand about and make it happen.
Fairy Snow Shush, Billy. I’m trying to remember the spell I need. (thinks)
Silly Billy (impatient) Then hurry, before mum shows up.
Fairy Snow There’s no need to egg me on, Billy. (to audience) Egg me on? Oh, please yourselves. (exclaims) I’ve got it!
Silly Billy (stands back) I hope it’s not some strange catchable fairy disease.
Fairy Snow A bird in the hand is worth two they say, And this one I promise won’t fly away. I’ll wave my wand and then produce, A very special, snow white goose. (waves her wand)
SFX: Pyro flash (SL)
Priscilla enters (SL)
Silly Billy Blimey, it worked! I’ve never seen one as big as that before! (Fairy Snow exits SR unnoticed – Billy turns) You really did it, Mrs Fairy! (turns back) Where did she go? (calls) Mrs Fairy! (looking around) She was here, wasn’t she? (response) Thank goodness for that. Otherwise I’d think I was going mad. (to Goose) You’re a bit of a funny looking goose, aren’t you? (Goose shakes its head) Never mind. So long as you can lay lots of eggs, what does it matter.
Priscilla moves upstage as Mother Goose enters from the cottage.
M. Goose (doesn’t notice Priscilla) There you are Billy.
Silly Billy Hello mum! And how are you this fine morning?
M. Goose Never mind that. Did you manage to sell those goose eggs?
Silly Billy No, mum. I’m afraid they got a bit scrambled.
M. Goose Like your brain! I told you to be eggstra careful with them. Mind you, I half eggspected something like this to happen. (to audience) Listen, somebody’s gone to a lot of trouble writing these cracking egg jokes, so the least you could do is laugh at them.
Silly Billy Sorry mum, it was a freak accident.
M. Goose Just like you were.
Silly Billy What do you mean by that, mum?
M. Goose Never mind son, it was a long time ago and I was young and foolish.
Silly Billy (aside to audience) And now she’s old and totally stupid.
M. Goose How am I going pay my council tax now? Thanks to you, we’ve got no money.
Silly Billy Don’t worry mum, I didn’t come back empty-handed.
M. Goose I don’t see anything in your hands. They’re as empty as your head.
Silly Billy I’ve got us another goose and it’s a real whopper.
M. Goose Well, you can certainly tell them. So, where is this whopper of a goose then?
Silly Billy (pointing) There she is.
M. Goose (turns) Woah! Where did that come from? You didn’t pinch it from that farm next to the Nuclear re-processing plant, did you?
Silly Billy No mum. A nice fairy used her magic to make it appear.
M. Goose (sniffs at him) Have you been drinking, Billy.
Silly Billy No, mum! She’s called Fairy Snow and this lot…(indicating audience)…saw it all. Didn’t you? (response) See? I’m telling you the truth.
M. Goose You wouldn’t know the truth if it bit you on the bum. Everybody knows fairies don’t exist.
Silly Billy Oh yes, they do!
M. Goose Oh no, they don’t!
Silly Billy (leading audience) Oh yes, they do!
M. Goose I can’t spend all day arguing with a load of idiots. Bring the goose inside and I’ll light the stove.
Silly Billy (horrified) You’re not thinking of cooking her, are you mum!? M. Goose Don’t talk daft. I’m going to make her some porridge to eat. The only goose that will be cooked is yours, if you don’t start making yourself a bit more useful. (to Priscilla) You’d like some porridge wouldn’t you. (Priscilla nods and cuddles against her) Oh look, she likes me. I think I’ll call her, Priscilla. (to Priscilla) Do you like your new name, then? (Priscilla nods) Good. Now, come inside and tell me all about yourself.
Silly Billy Can I have some porridge too, mum?
M. Goose I’m afraid there isn’t enough, to go around.
Silly Billy But I haven’t had breakfast yet and I’m starving!
M. Goose You can lick the bowl after Priscilla’s finished with it.
Silly Billy I think I’ll pass, thanks.
M. Goose Suit yourself. Now hurry up and get inside.
All exit into the cottage. Music cue 4: Baron Hardup enters (SL)
Baron Here we are. Mother Goose’s cottage. (to audience) I’m not only interested in her money, but also her beautiful daughter Heidi. And if everything goes to plan, she will soon become my wife. Oh, the unbridled joy of complete financial power! (knocks on door) Mother Goose! (no reply) I know you’re in there! Now, open this door!
M. Goose (off) This is a recording. Mother Goose is unavailable to answer the door right now. Please leave your message after the tone…beeeeep!
Baron Mother Goose! Stop mucking about and open this door, before I smash it in!
M. Goose (flings open the door) You do, and I’ll smash your face in!
Baron (backing away) Calm down dear, it’s only a panto. We don’t want any unpleasantness, now do we?
M. Goose You’re the only unpleasantness around here.
Baron Can’t we talk this through calmly, face to face?
M. Goose Certainly. Which one of your faces would you like me to talk to first?
Baron Listen, you old battleaxe! You owe lots of council tax and I’m here to collect. Now, pay up, or I’ll evict you and sell your cottage.
M. Goose How much do I owe?
Baron Two-hundred pounds.
M. Goose (exclaims) Two-hundred pounds! Are you sure there hasn’t been a mistake?
Baron No, I have the all details right here. Let’s see now…there’s the income tax.
M. Goose But I’m just a poor lonely widow. (elicit sympathy) I don’t have any income.
Baron Purchase tax.
M. Goose If I don’t have any income, how can I purchase anything?
Baron Tobacco tax.
M. Goose I don’t smoke.
Baron Alcohol tax.
M. Goose I don’t drink…well, only for medicinal purposes.
Baron And finally, the poll tax.
M. Goose You know where you can stick that.
Baron Behave yourself!
M. Goose And that lot comes to two-hundred pounds, does it?
Baron No, it comes to one-hundred and sixty pounds.
M. Goose So, what’s the rest for?
M. Goose What’s vat?
Baron It’s the other tax.
M. Goose I knew they were taxing this and that, but I didn’t realise they were taxing the other as well. (to audience) I’ll bet you kids don’t understand all these taxes, do you?
Baron The best way to teach your kids about taxes, is by eating 20 percent of their ice cream. (laughs)
M. Goose I’ll bet you did, too.
Baron Have you got the money to pay all these taxes, or not?
M. Goose No. I’ve not been able to sell any eggs recently, and all I ever seem to do is shell out. (to audience) I hope you’re keeping count of all these egg jokes, by the way.
Baron In that case, I’ll be taking your cottage in lieu.
M. Goose Oh no, please don’t take my loo! What if I’m caught short?
Baron You just have been, which is why I’m evicting you.
M. Goose And what if I refuse to go?
Baron Then I will have you physically thrown out.
M. Goose Oh no, you won’t!
Baron Oh yes, I will!
M. Goose Oh no, you won’t!
Baron Oh yes, I will!
M. Goose (leading audience) Oh no, you won’t!
Baron I can’t stand here all day, arguing with you.
M. Goose Are you going then?
Baron Yes, but my bailiffs will be back to evict you. (to audience) And don’t think you’ll get away without paying your taxes. You’re all next on my list. (exits SL)
M. Goose Good riddance to bad rubbish, I say. But he did threaten me with the bailiffs, didn’t he? (dramatic overacting) Oh, what am I going to do? Me, a poor lonely widow. Thrown out, onto the cold hard, unforgiving streets. Where can I go? Who will take us in and give us shelter? Oh, woe is me! (to audience) This is heart-rending stuff, isn’t it? (resumes overacting) Oh, woe, woe and thrice woe!
Heidi enters (SR)
Heidi What’s the matter mum? Why are you so upset?
M. Goose It’s that rotten old Baron Hardup. He’s threatening to throw us out of our lovely home, just because I can’t pay my taxes.
Heidi Not us as well. This is getting serious, mum.
M. Goose I don’t know what I’m going to do, Heidi. And if we’re evicted, what will happen to Little Tommy and Billy?
Heidi Little Tommy’s only visiting. And Billy’s old enough to look after himself.
M. Goose How? He’s a complete idiot!
Heidi If we are evicted, where are we going to go mum?
M. Goose I haven’t the foggiest. But I’m not going to give Baron Hardup, the satisfaction of evicting us. I’d rather leave first.
HeidiIt’s going to be hard, leaving the only home I’ve ever known.
M. Goose When I was a child, my parents moved home a lot. But I always managed to find them again. I’m going inside to start packing. You go to the end of the lane and warn me if you see Baron Hardup’s bailiffs.
Heidi Okay, mum. (exits SR)
M. Goose (to audience) Pardon me while I go and pack. (exits inside)