Poor Peter has been thrown out of his home, on his fatherís death, by his two scheming but bungling brothers, Hector and Casper. His only possesion is the loyal and elderly Puss. However, Mother Goose uses her magical powers to transform Puss into a rapping and streetwise Puss in Boots, who with the help of Jack and Marjory promotes Peter to the status of Marquis. Before all this is achieved Peter and his friends have to deal with the evil Gruesome and his people eating master, Crunchbones. Although Peter also experiences the lighter side of life by falling in love with the beautiful Princess. Whilst all this action is occuring, the eccentric Queen Fanny and the madcap Freckles keep the audience entertained in the lively, thrilling and easy to put on pantomime.
This pantomime was written at the request of the Palace Theatre, Newark, and presented there in January 1992. When I sat down with Brien Chitty to discuss their requirements, they asked for a "Slosh" scene, and a U.V. one which at that time seemed no problem at all. When the actual writing began, however, I found myself in difficulties, for there was nowhere in the outlined plot where either could be placed, and in addition to this was the transformation of the Ogreís transformation from Giant to Lion and then to Mouse in full view of the audience. I solved the problem by lumping them all together in the final scene. Smugly depositing the completed script into the waiting hands of the Palace Theatre team, it suddenly struck me that should anyone else want to stage it, Iíd given them a few problems. Many of the smaller did not have the facilities for the U.V. and transformation scene. A quick re-write made it possible for the U.V. scene to be lifted out without damaging the continuity, and if yours is one of the societies who canít cope with, or donít want U.V., hereís the solution. Following the Ogreís line, "A laugh, eh? Then watch and Iíll prove it to you." Puss says, "I shouldnít bother if I were you. Iíve seen it all before. Thereís nothing you can do that my master canít. He can even change his shape." Omit the Ogreís spell and U.V. scene, picking up on the Ogreís line, "Bah, any magician can do that,"
For the Ogreís transformation, Ogre speaks the spell. Lights fade quickly to black-out. Ogre exits. Lion enters. Lights go up. For the second change, following the speech, "You doubt my powers? Then watch." Lights fade quickly to black-out, Lion exits. The next four lines are said as script then Puss says, "You must be a very small small mouse. I canít even see you. Youíll have to come closer." The Ogre replies, "Oh, very well. Now can you see me?" then the rest is as script. Obviously there is no need for the audience to see the Mouse, and equally obvious is the fact that the Ogreís voice must be done on an offstage mic throughout for better effect.
Apart from that, producing societies should have no problems with the rest of the script. Keep the songs bright and bouncy, cosumes colourful and with a good pace to it all, everyone should enjoy themselves.
Mother Goose, Fairy Godmother to all
Casper, Hector, the Millerís lazy sons
Peter, their younger brother
Puss, his only friend
Gruesome, the Ogreís henchman
Fanny the Fifth, Queen of Arcadia
The Lord Chamberlain
Freckles, a page
Crunchbones, the Ogre
Chorus of Villagers, Gypsies, Fairies, Demons, etc.
For Ethel Clee an inadequate thank you for the pleasure your singing gave to so many people in so many wonderful Operettas.