Some people are miserable mutton-heads and suspicious slimeballs. You say to them, "I'm going to see 'Crackers Christmas' at the Sherman? Do you want to come?" They reply, "What's it about?" What a stupid question! If you knew what it was about you wouldn't have to go and see it! But for all those tedious twerps who want a free sample, here's how the Crackers Christmas story starts. Take your seats in the theatre stop coughing and stop rustling those rotten sweet wrappers or you'll be thrown out!!! Now … are you sitting comfortably? The scene is an ordinary living room in an ordinary house in an ordinary town on Christmas Eve. In the house lives Watson Williams and it is Watson who tells us this terrific tale … Scene I Holmes and Watson
Lights come up on the Williams house, the night before Christmas. A Christmas tree, a fireplace. From the shadows Watson narrates …
Watson: 'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house no creature was stirring, not even a mouse … just one little rat. Me! Let me tell you about that Crackers Christmas. I couldn't wait for Christmas Day to open my presents. I wanted to know if mum and dad bought me that Action Cat I asked for! This'll be it. Nothing wrong with sneaking a look at just one little present, is there? A book! What good is that! I've already got a book! "Horrible Christmas" it's called! Hope I've got something better than a measly old book! Books aren't proper presents. Nothing wrong with sneaking a look at just one little proper present, is there? Action Man! That's better … but it's not as good as Action Cat, is it? Nothing wrong with sneaking a look at just one little properproper present, is there?
Watson Williams steps forward, into light, chuckling. He is dressed in pyjamas.
Watson begins to shake boxes under the tree. At last he finds one that seems likely.
Unwraps next gift.
Throws it aside. As he begins to unwrap third present Mother and Father enter and watch him, seen by the audience but not by Watson. As he pulls a furry cat out of the box with delight, but frowns as he examines the paws. Father speaks.
Father: Watson: Watson Williams! Waaaagh!
The cat flies through the air and is caught by Mother.
What's this, Watson? Christmas crackers! Where did that cat come from?
From that parcel you've just opened, you wicked little Watson. (Talking fast) Well, I thought Santa might have left me an Action Cat for Christmas but I was worried that the cat may be thirsty and want a saucer
of milk or he might stuffocate if I left him wrapped up inside the parcel so I just took him out for … for … for … Father: Watson: Mother: Watson: Father: Watson: For a sneaky look! … for a bit of fresh air! I want you to put him back and wrap him up. All right, Ma. Time you were in bed. But mind Action Cat doesn't scratch you! Funny you should say that, Da. But this cat's got a claw on the outside toe and a claw on the inside toe. (Demonstrates) But he hasn't got any claws in the middle of his paws. Why's that, Da? They'll be there when you wake up in the morning, son. Will they, dad? How d'you know? Because centre claws always comes at Christmas! Ha! Get it? Santa Claus always comes at … oh, never mind. (Bursts into theme song incongruous and over the top) Sure as the day time follows night, Sure as the cat has whiskers! Sure as the Lapland snow is white, Santa Claus comes at Christmas! Mother: (takes up song, dancing dramatically equally over the top) Sure as holly berries are red Sure as the mistletoe is white Sure as your roasted turkey's dead! Santa Claus comes tonight! Father: (Joins in last two lines) Sure as your roasted turkey's dead! Santa Claus comes tonight! Watson: Mother: Father: Watson: Watson: (Disgusted by song and performance) Sure as your roasted turkey's dead! What sort of song's that? Enough to make you a vegetarian! Put Action Cat back and get off to bed. And if those presents have been touched before tomorrow, we'll know who to blame, won't we, Watson? Yes, Da. Parents! Don't they show you up?
Takes cat from mother and strokes it
Father: Watson: Father:
Watson, Places cat in box and replaces it under tree. Mother and Father exit. Watson picks up book, tucks it under his arm and begins to read. Then Watson sneaks back, reading "Horrible Christmas".
Watson: My friend, Mervyn Morgan, says there's no such person as Santa Claus. He says it's just your Mam and Dad. But Mervyn Morgan tells lies. He said he kissed our teacher Miss Toon under the mistletoe and I said, liar, liar, pants on fire. But this book here (pulls it out) "Horrible Christmas" says here Santa Claus is really Saint Nicholas. He's a saint who lived 1700 years ago. Well, if he's a saint he could still be around, couldn't he? So I think I'll just stay up and watch for Santa Claus. I'll hide here …
It goes dim, Watson reads book. Narrator sighs and begins again …
Watson: 'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house no creature was stirring, not even a mouse …
Rudolf the reindeer flies in on a sleigh that holds a Father Christmas in a red suit and dark glasses - Sidney Claws in disguise. Rudolf's red nose is masked under a small woolly bobble hat.
Watson: Rudolf: Watson: Watson: … but maybe a moose! It's Santa's sleigh! Yes, boss! It's Rudolf the Red nosed reindeer! There is a Santa Claus! Just wait till I see Mervyn Morgan! Sidney Claws: Rudolf! Rudolf! Give me some light!
Rudolf removed the bobble hat to show a glowing red nose.
Sidney Claws: Time to pass the parcel, Rudolf!
Rudolf throws presents to Sidney Claws who loads them into a bag.
Sidney Claws: What's this? (finds previously unwrapped Action Man). A doll!!! I hate dolls! Hate them! Hate them! Hate them! (Sidney tears off arms and throws it to the floor) Rudolf: Rudolf: Sidney Claws: Take it! Rudolf: It's got no centre claws. Sidney Claws: And it never will have. Centre claws doesn't come at Christmas any longer! I do! For I am Sidney Claws, … the Wicked. Rudolf: (Acting tough) And I am Rudolf … the Red Sidney Claws: I am the evil opposite of Santa! With my secret sleigh I will destroy the Christmas happiness of children forever! Rudolf: Not forever, boss! You can't destroy the happiness the kids had last year … or a hundred years ago! Oh no you can't! Oh, yes you can! You don't like them, then? (Looks in box) Just some Action Cat. Sidney Claws: That the lot?
Sidney Claws: Oh, yes I can! Rudolf: Rudolf: Sidney Claws: Oh, yes I can! Sidney Claws: Oh no I can't! Eh? This sleigh not only travels through space it travels through time! I will travel back in time and ruin every Christmas there's ever been! I'm evil! Evil! Evil! Rudolf: (Talking tough) Yeah! And I'm not very nice either.
Music. Sidney Claws and Rudolf do a song and tap-dance routine to their theme.
Sidney Claws: I'm wicked and I'm nasty I like to make kids cry. I'll spoil your every Christmas … Rudolf: Yes and so will I ! We'll close your pantomime My heart is cold and hard as stone. Sidney Claws: We'll put salt in your Christmas pud,
Oh yes, and so is mine ! There where the tinsel flickers. Then I nick your Christmas toys
Sidney Claws: I swoop below your Christmas tree
For we're a pair of nickers ! Then we nick your Christmas toys For we're a pair of nickers !
Sidney Claws: All aboard and out into the snowy sky! Rudolf: Rudolf: Watson: Actually, it's not snow, it's rain! Ah, but Rudolf the Red knows rain … dear. Christmas crackers! Better call dad … Sidney Claws: Sidney Claws knows snow … (jabs Rudolf) … mate.
They fly off in the sleigh. Watson emerges from his hiding place Moves towards exit, is about to call then pauses. Dad's voice is heard in an echo of previous warning
Father: Watson: (Voice off) And if those presents have been touched before tomorrow, we'll know who to blame, won't we, Watson? Oh, polar penguin poo! What can I do? I have to get the presents back and save Christmas before tomorrow morning. I need help! Emergency! Dial 999! Hello, this is 888. What, what, what? No, 888. can I help? Yes! There's a thief stolen all my Christmas presents. Then I'm the one you want. Sherlock Holmes is the name, detecting's me game! I'll be with you at once!
Picks up the phone and dials. He is answered by Shirley Gnomes, an amplified voice.
Shirley: Watson: Shirley: Watson: Shirley:
There is a click and a buzzing dial-tone as the off-stage phone is disconnected. Watson hisses into phone …
Watson: But you don't know where I live or who I am.
Rap on the door
What was that! (Off stage) It was a tap on the door.
I've seen a tap on the kitchen sink, but I've never seen a tap on the door! Let me in! How did you know where I live, Sherlock? Elementary, my dear Watson! How do you know my name? I'm a detective. It's my job to know these things! You're a genius, Sherlock. Elementary, my dear Watson … but you can call me Shirley. Thanks, Shirley. My Action Cat and all my presents have been stolen by a reindeer called Rudolf and a man dressed as Santa Claus!
Shirley: Watson: Shirley: Watson: Shirley: Watson: Shirley: Watson:
Watson goes to open door. Shirley rushes in.
They flew off on a time machine to wreck every Christmas there's ever been! Shirley: Watson: (Examines destroyed Action Man thoughtfully) where they were going first? They sang a song … it went (sings) We'll put salt in your Christmas pudding, We'll close your pantomime Shirley: Watson: Shirley: Then we'll follow them! Can you follow a reindeer? (Points to hat) That's why I have a deer-stalker. Walk this way! (Groucho stalk to exit Watson mimics. Holmes whistles. A little hansom cab appears. Shirley indicates Watson should climb in.) Your hansom! Thanks, Shirley. You're not so bad looking yourself! It's a flying time machine in the shape of a hansom cab, you foolish boy. Did they say
Presses buttons and switches and there is a whirring and a clattering and a flashing
Watson: Shirley: Watson: Shirley: A time machine! One of only two in the world. My father was a brilliant scientist and he made it for me. Are we going to look for Santa Claus? No! We're looking for Santa clues! My deer-stalker tells me he's headed for a Cardiff theatre Christmas 1941! Let's catch him and stop his little game … (pushed buttons and twists dials) Hi-ho, Silver, away!
They shoot off into the night as the stage goes dark .
What happens next? Sorry, you'll have to but a ticket to see the play at the Sherman Theatre this Christmas. Get your miserly Dad to fork out or your miserable Mum. It's a night they'll remember if they live to be 19 years old!