All rights reserved: Kei Bailey [www.keibailey.co.uk]
Robin Hood & the Babes in the Wood
SCENE THREE: MUCH-CHIPPING-ON-THE-ENAMEL VILLAGE SQUARE
FULL SET: A PICTURESQUE VILLAGE SCENE WITH AN OLD-FASHIONED WISHING WELL, COBBLED STREETS AND QUAINT THATCHED STONE COTTAGES, A FEW WITH SIGNS TO INDICATE A BUSINESS OR TWO LIKE THE BLACKSMITH AND AN OLD TAVERN CALLED THE NOBODY INN.
Enter Robin Hood, a daring and rather dashing hero who oozes with charm. He slaps his thigh and strikes a heroic pose.
ROBIN: (To the audience) I am Robin Hood. I bet you were wondering when I was going to show up. This is the village of Much-Chipping-On-The-Enamel, on the edge of Sherwood Forest. I shouldn’t really be here, out in the open, but this is where my beloved Maid Marian lives and I was desperate to see her.
Enter Maid Marian, a sassy and smart independent woman.
MARIAN: (Surprised) Robin! What are you doing here?
ROBIN: (Taking her hand) Marian, I just had to see you.
MARIAN: Are you mad? What if the Sheriff of Nottingham sees you? He’s just arrived in the village with the children.
ROBIN: I don’t care! Every moment I am parted from you I am in agony.
MARIAN: Not as much agony as you’d be in if the Sheriff has you thrown into his torture chamber. Why are you not in disguise?
ROBIN: There wasn’t time. It was spur of the moment – I needed to see your face. (Presenting a flower) And to give you this.
MARIAN: Oh Robin. You’re so sweet.
ROBIN: Marian, come and live with me in the forest.
MARIAN: You know I can’t do that, not at the moment. Not whilst Hansel and Gretel are living at the Manor with the Sheriff. He doesn’t treat them kindly – I must watch over them.
ROBIN: But they have Nanny to do that.
MARIAN: I know but she can’t be there for them all the time.
ROBIN: The children can come and live in the forest with us. We’d look after them.
MARIAN: However mean and nasty the Sheriff is, we can’t just take the children away. He is a distant relative and became their legal guardian when their parents died.
SHERIFF: (From offstage) Stop whinging, the pair of you! I am not getting you one.
MARIAN: (To Robin) That’s the Sheriff now. You’ve got to get out of here.
ROBIN: Very well. Until next time my love.
MARIAN: Farewell my sweet.
Enter the Sheriff of Nottingham, a greedy, vain and conniving man wearing black clothes to compliment his black heart. With him are Hansel, a mischievous boy, and Gretel, a clever girl.
HANSEL: Please Uncle!
SHERIFF: For the last time, I am not getting you an ice cream. They are too expensive. Besides only good children deserve treats.
GRETEL: But we have been good.
SHERIFF: Good? Pah! You’ve been chatting and bickering all morning. Good children should be seen and not heard.
MARIAN: Good morning Hansel! Good morning Gretel!
SHERIFF: Ah! The beauteous Maid Marian. How are you this fine morning?
MARIAN: I was doing ok until you came along.
SHERIFF: (Giggling) Oh! I do like a woman with a sense of humour.
MARIAN: Yes, they’d need one.
SHERIFF: I was wondering what you were doing this evening. Perhaps you’d like to come over to my Manor House and join me in a spot of supper.
MARIAN: No, thanks. I’m washing my hair. Anyway, I’ve got a boyfriend.
SHERIFF: If you mean that odious outlaw Robin Hood, you won’t be with him much longer. My men are on his trail and once he’s been captured, I’ll have him executed. After a month or two of torture naturally.
MARIAN: You’ll never catch Robin Hood. He’s too smart for you.
SHERIFF: We’ll see, Maid Marian, we’ll see. Right, well, if you won’t dine with me this evening, there are dozens of eligible ladies in this village who won’t be able to resist my devilishly handsome good looks.
MARIAN: Don’t kid yourself. You look like a bullfrog with wind.
SHERIFF: I’ve often been likened to Brad Pitt.
MARIAN: Surely not in daylight. Anyway, it’s not all about appearance, having a warm personality and kind soul is much more important.
SHERIFF: I do have those attributes. I’m a very caring and generous individual. The children will tell you that, won’t you?
The Sheriff turns to Hansel and Gretel who remain silent.
SHERIFF: Tell Maid Marian how caring and generous I am.
Hansel and Gretel still remain silent.
SHERIFF: If you don’t tell her how caring and generous I am, I’ll have you flogged and locked in your bedchamber for a week.
GRETEL: But you said children should be seen and not heard.
SHERIFF: I give you permission to speak.
HANSEL: Oh great! That means I can tell a joke. What did Robin Hood say at archery practice when he nearly got hit? That was an arrow escape.
SHERIFF: That’s a rubbish joke.
HANSEL: It’s not.
SHERIFF: It is.
HANSEL: It’s not.
SHERIFF: It is.
HANSEL: It’s not. (Picking his nose) Look! Snot.
Hansel wipes his finger on the Sheriff, then runs off laughing with Gretel.
SHERIFF: Just wait ‘til I get my hands on you!
The Sheriff chases after them angrily. Maid Marian follows in an attempt to calm him down. Enter Clara Loft, a bubbly and bouncy woman who lives life to the full.
CLARA: (To the audience) Hi everyone! Welcome to Much Chipping. Pleased to me you all. My name is Clara Loft. What’s yours? (Audience response) Hey, you haven’t seen the Sheriff of Nottingham around, have you? (Audience response) Phew! I’m pleased I didn’t bump into him. I’m trying to have a break. You see I’m a servant at his country retreat, Bedside Manor, here in the village, and I can’t stand him. He’s really mean and ‘orrible. Nobody likes him in the whole county ‘cos he’s responsible for collecting tax for Prince John. Everyone’s skint ‘cos he keeps introducing more ridiculous taxes. Last month he said he was going to tax everyone with blocked up noses. Can you believe it? He’s called it the Congestion Charge. Anyway, hopefully I won’t be working for the Sheriff much longer ‘cos I’m going to join Robin Hood and become one of his Merry Men. Ok, I know there’s a couple of things that might get in my way but I’m keen and strong and fit and healthy. I just need to toughen up a bit ‘cos sometimes I can be too soft. Sometimes I have to tell myself, Clara Loft, don’t be soft. In fact, you lot could help me out. Every time I shout, Clara Loft’, I want you to shout back ‘Don’t be soft!’ Shall we have a go?
Call and response routine with audience
CLARA: Fabulous! Do it like that every time! (Looking offstage) Ooh! Here comes Nanny Mangle. She’s looks after the children at the Manor where I work.
Enter Nanny Mangle, flirty, flippant and frivolous with an undeniable sense of fun. She is pulling a shopping trolley bag and reading a long shopping list.
NANNY: Ah! There you are Clara. Where have you been? You’re supposed to be helping me with the shopping. We haven’t got all day.
CLARA: I really needed a wee.
NANNY: For goodness sake, you always need a wee.
CLARA: That’s not true.
NANNY: It is true! Last week you even had a wee in the swimming pool.
CLARA: Everyone wees in the swimming pool now and then.
NANNY: Not from the ten-metre high diving board.
CLARA: Well, you’ve found me now. What do you want me to do? Do you want me to pop to Mr Belcher’s farm shop?
NANNY: It’s not open today. His pigs are poorly – they’ve lost their voices.
CLARA: Oh dear! I bet they’re disgruntled.
NANNY: (Taking out an egg box) I had to get these from Aldi. Do you know eggs are going up again?
CLARA: That’ll surprise a few chickens. Ha, ha! I’m full of jokes today.
NANNY: You’re full of something. Why are you showing off? Is your mother in the audience? (Looking into the audience) Is that her? The one wearing the bin-liner?
CLARA: (Looking out) No, that’s Flossie Golightly from Great Hale.
NANNY: So, it is! You’re looking lovely, dear. It must be the lighting. I like your outfit, dear. I used to make my own clothes too! What fabric is that?
CLARA: Looks like acrylic to me.
NANNY: Isn’t that a protected animal? (Looking out) No dear, seriously, you look fabulous. You were very wise to remove the curtain rings.
CLARA: Shouldn’t we get a move on if we’ve still got shopping to do?
NANNY: You’re right. I haven’t got time to be stood here gossiping to the likes of her. I’ve got a very tight schedule.
CLARA: I thought you were walking funny.
NANNY: Come on, let’s get to Sainsburys and see what bargains we can bag. They’ll have just put the bins out.
CLARA: Shall we nip to the pub on route for a swift half?
NANNY: Now, you’re talking. (To the audience) Laters alligators!
Exit Nanny Mangle and Clara. Enter Hernia Septic, a nasty old hag with poor manners and dubious personal hygiene. Halfway through eating a sandwich, she sniffs her armpits, or scratches her backside, or both. She is soon joined by Weasel, her grotty, dim-witted nephew.
WEASEL: (Excitedly) Auntie! Auntie! You never guess what?
HERNIA: I ‘ope this is important. You know I don’t like to be disturbed when I’m eatin’.
WEASEL: Something’s ‘appened at the bus stop.
HERNIA: At the bus stop? What is it?
WEASEL: It’s a place where you catch a bus.
HERNIA: I know that, y’fool. I mean what’s ‘appened?
WEASEL: I’ve just seen Robin Hood.
HERNIA: Are ya sure?
WEASEL: Ooh yes! I’d know ‘im anywhere. I’ve seen his face on all them wanted posters.
SHERIFF: (Poking his head on stage) Psssst!
HERNIA: I most certainly am not. I’ve only ‘ad a couple in the dressing room.
SHERIFF: (Entering) Did I hear mention of Robin Hood?
HERNIA: You shouldn’t be listenin’ to our conversation. Have you no morals?
HERNIA: Then you’re my kinda bloke. Allow me to introduce m’self, I am Hernia Septic and this is Weasel, me nephew. So, we was talkin’ about Robin Hood, what’s it to you?
SHERIFF: Do you know who I am?
HERNIA: Why? ‘Ave you forgotten?
WEASEL: It’s probably written on the label in your underpants . . . Do you want me to ‘ave a look?
SHERIFF: I am the Sheriff of Nottingham, and I am willing to pay handsomely for anyone who can trap Robin Hood and bring him to me.
HERNIA: (Moving in more closely) How much are we talkin’?
SHERIFF: Please, not too close. You’re making my eyes water. You smell like a sumo-wrestler’s laundry basket.
HERNIA: (Stepping back) Well, how much?
SHERIFF: More than you can ever imagine.
HERNIA: I dunno. I’ve got a good imagination. How ‘bout a little advance?
SHERIFF: Very well. (Holding out a pouch of coins) Will this do?
HERNIA: (Taking the money) That’ll do nicely.
SHERIFF: However now you have the money, you must not fail. Capture Robin Hood or else!
WEASEL: We’ll get both. (To Hernia) You catch Robin Hood, I’ll get Else.
SHERIFF: If you don’t capture him, I’ll cut off your heads.
WEASEL: (Indignant) If you cut my ‘ead off, I’ll never talk to you again.
HERNIA: Take no notice of ‘im, sire. He was built upside down.
SHERIFF: Built upside down?
HERNIA: Yeah, ‘is nose runs and ‘is feet smell. And they left a big gap between his ears.
SHERIFF: I must go now. Fail me not.
Exit Sheriff. Hernia looks gleefully at the money. Weasel tries to peer into the bag but she slaps his wrist.
SCENE FOUR: SOMEWHERE IN SHERWOOD FOREST
FRONT CLOTH: AS IN ACT ONE, SCENE TWO
Enter Robin Hood, followed by Will Scarlet, a stylish and health conscious man who can be a little timid and anxious.
ROBIN: So Will, how are you settling into camp?
WILL: It’s taking a bit of getting used to. I haven’t been camping for years. The last time I went, I set fire to my pyjamas.
ROBIN: Set fire to your pyjamas?
WILL: Yes – the heat was in tents. I’m sure I’ll become accustomed to living without the little comforts . . . eventually.
ROBIN: Well, you have running water.
WILL: Yes . . . down the walls every time it rains. And I’ve discovered a very large hole in my sleeping bag.
ROBIN: That explains why you’ve been losing so much sleep.
WILL: Also, the walls are so thin when Friar Tuck peels an onion, I start crying.
ROBIN: Anyway Will, you’ve been with the Merry Men now for over a month so it’s time you learnt how to handle a bow and arrow.
WILL: (Nervously) Oh goodness. Are you sure? Is it really necessary?
ROBIN: Of course, it is. What if you need to hold up a rich merchant travelling through Sherwood Forest? Remember we steal from the rich . . .
WILL: That makes sense. The poor haven’t got anything worth taking.
ROBIN: (Demonstrating) Ok, this is how you hold your bow and arrow. You have a go.
WILL: (Attempting) I’m not finding this easy. I have a very weak wrist.
ROBIN: Yes, it is a bit limp. But you’re doing fine. That’s it. Right, now you say . . . Stick your hands up, this is a hold up, give me your money . . .
WILL: How are they supposed to give you their money with their hands up?
ROBIN: Just say it. Then fire your arrow.
WILL: Er . . . ok . . . er . . . Hold hands, this is a money up, give me your sticks!
Will shoots his arrow offstage. There is a flying arrow sound effect, followed by a duff, squawk and thump.
WILL: Ouch! I’ve just broken a nail.
ROBIN: And shot a pigeon. Try again.
Will shoots another arrow offstage. There is a flying arrow sound effect, followed by a duff, squeak and thump sound effect.
ROBIN: You got a squirrel that time. Have one more go and try not to hit anything this time!
Will shoots another arrow offstage. There is a flying arrow sound effect, followed by a duff and a yell of pain from Friar Tuck.
ROBIN: Whoops! (Calling offstage) Sorry Friar Tuck.
Enter Friar Tuck, a jolly monk with a large appetite. He has an arrow sticking in his bottom.
FRIAR: (Good humoured) Ow. That stung a bit.
WILL: I’m so sorry. I was practising my bow and arrow technique.
FRIAR: Don’t worry, Will. I was bent over collecting herbs. I should have been paying more attention – the forest is a dangerous place.
WILL: You’re not wrong there. I stubbed my toe on a hedgehog last night.
FRIAR: (To Robin) How’s he doing, Robin?
ROBIN: So far, he’s shot a pigeon and a squirrel.
FRIAR: Well, at least we won’t go hungry. Maybe he could shoot something larger next time. (To Will) How would you feel about hunting bear?
WILL: Ooh no! I’d always want to wear my clothes.
Enter Little John, a lovable tough guy with more brawn than brains.
FRIAR: Squirrel for supper, Little John.
JOHN: Ha ha! Very funny! You know I’m a vegetarian.
FRIAR: Salad it is then.
JOHN: Well the joke’s on you, Friar Tuck, ‘cos you won’t be able to cook it – we’ve run out of wood!
WILL: What do you mean? (Indicating his surroundings) What’s this?
JOHN: A forest.
WILL: So where do we get more wood from?
JOHN: Er . . . I dunno. A wood shop?
WILL: (Pointing at a tree) What is that?
JOHN: A finger?
WILL: Little John, how long have you lived in Sherwood Forest?
JOHN: All my life.
FRIAR: He was brought up by a family of badgers.
Enter Fairy May, she is agitated.
ROBIN: Hello Fairy May.
FAIRY: Oh Robin! There you are. I’ve been looking for you everywhere. We might have a spot of bother on our hands.
ROBIN: Have no fear, the Merry Men are here!
Robin and his team shout ‘Hurrah!’, slap their thighs and strike heroic poses.
FAIRY: There’s been rumblings at Gingerbread Cottage.
JOHN: I’m not surprised – all the rhubarb crumble she eats.
FAIRY: Word in the forest is that strange magic is in the air and Caramella Marchpane might be up to no good, but we’re not sure what yet. We just need to be alert and keep our eyes peeled.
FRIAR: I’ll get my ear to the ground.
JOHN: (Kneeling down) So will I!
Little John puts his ear to the ground then suddenly kneels up and wipes his ear.
JOHN: Ergh! Rabbit droppings.
ROBIN: He means he’s going to listen out for trouble.
FRIAR: I’ve got acute hearing.
WILL: And I’ve got a cute smile.
FRIAR: I can recognise every sound in this forest. I’ll know if something’s up. Listen! There’s the sound of a flock of chaffinches flying through the treetops.
A ‘ducks quacking’ sound effect. Tuck gives a confused look to the sound desk.
SOUNDMAN: (Calling to stage) Have you ever tried to find a sound effect for a flock of chaffinches?
ROBIN: I’m glad you’re here actually, Fairy May. I need your help. In fact, I need everyone’s help.
FAIRY: Ooh! Is it to assist in some kind of adventure?
ROBIN: I do have a new adventure planned as it happens.
JOHN: I wouldn’t plan it as it happens – I’d plan it in advance.
ROBIN: My new adventure is to become a husband. I’m going to propose to Maid Marian. And I want you lot to be involved . . .