The Chelsea Blog (very) Amateur Dramatic Society is proud to present its own interpretation of:
(A work of pantomime and prose very loosely based upon the above-mentioned work in as many parts as I can string a fairly weak plot with a load of half-arsed Chelsea related puns and poor gags out for.)
All characters appearing in this work are real folk viewed through the eyes of an author with manflu who has consumed too much strong cheddar after 8pm. Any resemblance to a work of vague sense and coherence is purely accidental. Proceeds from the box office to the Rafa Benitez Early Retirement Fund. No running, jumping, blocking the aisles, petting or feeding the cast members.
Carlo – long(ish) suffering coach of Chelsea FC;
Baron Roman Hardup – rich and demanding patriarchal figure, owner of the afore-mentioned Chelsea FC;
The Ugly Sisters, Pini and Roni – the Baron’s ugly, grasping stepdaughters;
Fairy Godmother – unknown, but looks a bit like Carlo’s former assistant Raymond in a wig;
Prince Charming – the club captain with an eye for a princess or three;
Buttons – Carlo’s well meaning but rather clueless new assistant;
Widow Twanky – Rafa Benitez (he doesn’t appear in this particular piece, it’s just my prediction as to what he’ll be doing this time next year);
Keys and Gray – two mindless buffoons.
ACT 1: The Kitchen, in the depths of Baron Hardup’s palace
Carlo, the loyal but put-upon son of Baron Hardup, is slaving over a hot chalkboard trying to explain the finer points of defensive play to some of the younger members of staff.
(voice from offstage)
“CARLO! WHERE ARE YOU?”
Enter Baron Hardup and Carlo’s two ugly stepsisters, Pini and Roni. The youngsters are quickly ushered out by Carlo’s well-meaning but rather clueless new assistant, Buttons.
Baron Hardup: Have you finished dealing with the issues on the list I gave you?
Carlo: Well, not quite – so much to do…
Baron Hardup: Well, stop dilly-dallying and get on with it. We’re visiting Count Arsene in a few days and then our distant cousins from Lancashire are dropping by. I don’t want you making a fool out of me.
Carlo: No, no – of course not.
Roni: Well, I never – is Arsene really a Count now?
Carlo: Well, there’s plenty that think he’s always been a bit of an old Count…
(A lethargic roll of drums and splash of cymbals rises from the orchestra pit)
Buttons: (enthusiastically) I’ve been helping out a lot, your Baronship.
Carlo: (suppressing a deep sigh) He has, to be fair. He understands the offside rule now, which is progress of sorts.
Baron Hardup: Good, good. I’ll be back later – Pini and Roni have some ideas for the team that I want to discuss with you.
Pini and Roni giggle to themselves, whilst both secretly admiring the impressive bulge in Baron Hardup’s trousers.
(Look, it’s his wallet you bunch of sickos)
The Baron and the Ugly Sisters depart, leaving Carlo alone in the kitchen pondering the magnitude of the tasks facing him.
Out in the theatre itself, Mr. Glover and Mr. Bayou, observing proceedings from their executive box are moved to pass comment:
Mr. Bayou: Hey, you old fool! You slept through the first act.
Mr. Glover: Who’s the fool? You watched it.
ACT 2: The Drawing Room in the Baron’s palace
The Baron and his stepdaughters are in the drawing room.
Pini: (persuasively) I know you’ve not heard of him father, but thirty-eight million for a Lithiuanian international left-back owned by three clubs and two agents with four caps is very reasonable these days…
Prince Charming enters, followed closely by a number of lawyers and press officers.
Prince Charming: (angrily) Alright then, I’ll go to half a fucking million on the condition that the grasping little cow doesn’t squeal to the redtops and keeps quiet about the paternity test.
Pini: Oooh, lock up your daughters, the prince is here!
Roni: Phwoooar! He can sweep into my drawing room any time he likes.
Pini: I don’t think he’s that interested dear…
Roni: Oh yes he is…
Audience: (slowly losing the will to live) Oh no he isn’t…
(Drums, cymbals etc.)
Mr. Glover: I have a good mind to go home.
Mr. Bayou: If you had a good mind, you wouldn’t be here in the first place.
Prince Charming: We all ready for the festive season and the big Christmas party then, girls?
Pini and Roni blush and flutter their eyelids at the prince.
Baron Hardup: Carlo has everything under control. At least, he’d better have…
Prince Charming: I’m sure we’ll be fine. I’ve given Didier his tablets, Frank is in charge of the Secret Santa and Ashley is organising the party games…
(The room falls silent momentarily)
Prince Charming: … Cousin Joe has texted to say that he’d loved to have seen us there, but Great Uncle Roy has grounded him.
Baron Hardup: Fair enough… I’ve heard that Sir Alex’s coach is already on the way. They’re looking to secure the best table for themselves again.
Prince Charming: Not while I have lead in my pencil they won’t.
Audience: Oh yes they will…
(The curtain drops to the relief of all concerned)
ACT 3: The Kitchen
Carlo wondered how he was going to get everyone to the big Christmas party. The carriage, not as reliable as it once was, needed some fresh legs to help it reach its destination.
Carlo: I wish Raymond was here…
(With a slightly dramatic puff of smoke and more drums and cymbals, the Fairy Godmother appears before Carlo)
Fairy Godmother: What’s the matter, Carlo?
Carlo: (startled) Who are you?
Fairy Godmother: (muttering) How soon they forget… Not important right now, old chap. Where are those youngsters you’ve knocking about the place?
Carlo: Erm, they’re around here somewhere… Buttons, where are you? Are you playing Championship Manager again? I’ve told you, it’s nothing like real… Oh, never mind – just bring Josh, Patrick, Jeffrey and Gael in here and be quick about it.
(Buttons appears with the four youngsters)
Fairy Godmother: Smashing bunch of chaps, they’ll do nicely.
(With a wave of his / her wand, the Fairy Godmother magically transforms the four promising waifs into impressive thoroughbreds, ready for the journey ahead)
Carlo: How’d you do that?
Fairy Godmother: Well Carlo, you see, it’s witchcraft…
(And with that, the Fairy Godmother treats the audience to a smooth, Sinatra-esque musical interlude)
“Those fingers in my, erm, hair… that sly come hither stare, that strips my conscience bare… it’s witchcraaaaaft…”
Buttons: (looking on, jealously) The Baron says that I do a great rendition of ‘Anything You Can Do…’, Carlo…?
Carlo: Oh do shut up, Buttons…
Fairy Godmother: (taking applause graciously) Thank you, thank you, smashing audience. Now, Carlo, just remember to be home by midnight…
Carlo: Why, do the youngsters just turn back into potential stars then?
Fairy Godmother: No, the Baron locks the gates and lets the hounds out to feed. You thought he just released the youth team players and managers that didn’t make the grade, didn’t you…?
Carlo: (nervously) Aaah…
ACT 4: En route to the Premiership Christmas Party
There now follows a brief description of the race between the main carriages heading to the big Premiership Christmas party, filled with glaringly obvious metaphors and yet more weak panto humour. It’s meant to invoke the spirit of the chariot race in ‘Ben Hur’, but is probably closer to ‘On the Buses’ if we’re being honest. Keys and Gray, our two amiable but buffoonish footmen will endeavour to provide commentary and analysis.
Keys: It’s a massive day, isn’t it?
Gray: Massive, absolutely massive with a side order of additional huge massiveness. Doesn’t get any bigger, well, not until the next massively huge…
Keys: (impatiently) Yes, thanks. Right… What’s happened so far?
Gray: Well, the Chelsea coach was going stormingly well but the wheels fell off a few weeks back. Internal strife, sackings, intrigue – nobody knows what’s going on…
Keys: And Sir Alex’s coach has taken advantage?
Gray: Yes indeed it has. It’s an unimpressive but functional vehicle and the driver knows the route like the back of his hand. He’s an expert at negotiating Squeaky Bum Corner…
Keys: How about Signor Roberto’s new vehicle – is it performing well?
Gray: Aye, not bad. If he can just stop the passengers in the First Class seats from fighting with each other and trying to jump out every five minutes, he’ll be OK. Foreign lad though, new to these roads – going to be very tricky…
Keys: The Arsenal coach?
Gray: Probably been robbed by a bunch of ne’er do-wells from the North en route. Happens every season…
Keys: Ah yes… we’re running out of time – a quick word on the Spurs coach?
Gray: Looking at a time penalty, I’d say. Uncle ‘Arry seems to have ahem, ‘forgotten’ to buy a tax disk. Don’t much like the look of the chimp they’ve got navigating either.
Keys: Thanks. A thrilling race in prospect, as you can see. Join us after the break, or on the interactive service via the red button, mobile for subscribers or in HD on Sky Sports HD1, or in 3D on Sky SporAAAAAAGH!
(A shepherd’s crook appears from stage right and hauls the amiable buffoon off by the neck into the wings)
The Christmas Party
The Chelsea coach reached its destination in good shape and only just behind Sir Alex’s party. En route they had passed the wreckage of the West Ham vehicle, smouldering upside down in a ditch with a familiar portly figure at the roadside making a dreadful hash of trying to put some traffic cones out. Eventually his assistant had to take over.
A splendid time was had by all. Mr. Kalou, not usually known for his pinpoint accuracy somehow managed to win the ‘Pin the Tail on the Blatter’ competition and Prince Charming didn’t commit any indiscretions with the female guests.
Carlo himself had dazzled the party. The velvet smoking jacket and cravat he’d borrowed from the Fairy Godmother fitted him perfectly, and although he’d lost one of his suede evening slippers during a particularly raucous rendition of ‘Knees Up Mother Brown’ with the boys, he climbed into the coach a happy man.
Pini didn’t travel back with the group. The last time Carlo had seen her, she was chasing a frightened looking sheikh from Signor Roberto’s party down the driveway, waving what looked like his missing shoe and screaming “No, please, come back – it fits, it really fits!”
Very strange, Carlo thought to himself. No-one really missed her on the journey home, if they were honest.
The next morning, Carlo went to the Baron and asked him for some money to bring in just a couple of new chaps to help keep the carriage on the road during the months ahead. Baron Hardup said that although he was obliged to fund some building work for an old acquaintance which might leave him a bit short, he’d see what he could do.
And, because this old nonsense has frankly gone on long enough with no vaguely plausible end in sight, they all lived happily ever after (or at least until the next injury / confidence / backroom crisis hit).
Up in the executive box, Mr. Bayou stirred from his half-slumber and nudged Mr. Glover who woke up with a start, knocking several empty Guinness cans off the edge of the box down onto the cheap seats below.
Mr. Bayou: Just when you think this show is terrible, something wonderful happens.
Mr. Glover: What’s that then?
Mr. Bayou: It ends!
And with that, the curtain falls, protecting the cast from the barrage of rotten fruit and some of the fixtures from the theatre that were not securely affixed to the walls and floor. As strains of ‘The Liquidator’ drift form the tinny PA system, the remaining members of the audience make for the exits, many of them demanding a refund and proclaiming the whole thing nowhere near as good as last year’s panto. There’s just no pleasing some folk, is there?