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One Act & Short Comedy Plays
Please contact the author to arrange performances: peterbarrett250@googlemail.com. Not all plays are complete. Contact the author for an up-to-date copy.

SENSE AND SENSIBLENESS

Winner of the Stagefright competition as part of the London Horror Festival in 2014 and the Supernova prize at the Bench Theatre in 2013. 

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. Or failing that, a quick one behind the sofa.

MOTHER  Our only hope is if we can find a husband for you. Otherwise we are destined to live our life in penury.

AMBER  Oh mother, you know I hate Penury – it hasn't even got a Waitrose.

MOTHER  If we can just marry you off to some member of the aristocracy before they realise how stupid you are, we’ll be home and dry.

AMBER  Don’t forget my accomplishments.

MOTHER  Your what?

AMBER  My accomplishments. I can colour in pictures, I can tie my shoelaces, I can play the gramophone.

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id!

Freud faces his ultimate challenge as he clears up the devil's hangups (2M.30 mins)

FREUD  So after five years of psychoanalysis - Do you feel better?

MR BUB  Better than what?

FREUD  Better than you felt before.

MR BUB  Oh yes. I used to have these terrible headaches, used to last for days on end. I had to lie in a dark room wearing ear plugs.

FREUD  It is true the mind can manifest psychological hurt as actual, physical pain.

MR BUB  Yes, he definitely sorted out the headaches. (BEAT) Of course having that bullet removed from my skull also helped a bit.


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DIAL H FOR HOME IMPROVEMENTS

When Roger finds an urgent need to murder his wife, he's scouring the Yellow Pages for a suitable tradesman. (15 mins. 1F2M

ROGER  I want you to murder my wife.

DGS   (BEMUSED) Right? (CHECKS CLIP BOARD) No, no, it just says here – four windows, two doors and possibly the patio doors. Doesn’t say anything about murdering anyone.

ROGER  Well, obviously I didn’t write it on the form. You can’t be too careful with these things. We are talking about murder.

DGS  Murder?

ROGER  Yes, murder.

DGS  The thing is, we do double-glazing, you know, mainly. We are looking at some insulation – cladding, cavity wall and so on – but our primary focus is, you know, the glazing.

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DAWN OF THE DEAF

The knives are out when a middle class couple meet their prospective daughter-in-law. Meanwhile their house is surrounded by troublemakers. Dawn of the Deaf was an excellent script. It was incredibly funny with some very well-crafted characters. The dialogue was hilarious (Certainty of Chance Theatre)

NORMAN  I’ve spent forty years staring at the soles of people’s feet. It’s long enough, isn’t it. You only get 20 years for armed robbery.

JOY  Podiatry. What sort of job was that? He should have been a surgeon. We’d have had that house years ago. It’s name your salary in the private sector.

NORMAN  I’ve done the job long enough. I needed to stop to preserve some vestige of dignity. Dignity. (PATTING HIS POCKETS) Now where on Earth did I leave my dignity.

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THE END OF THE WORLD (AS WE KNOW IT)

Two Russian soldiers are waiting for Godot in missile silo (40 minutes.1F2M)

NICOLAI  Now we must do the missile count. According to my records you have one missile.

ANATOLE  Yes.

NICOLAI  No, no, comrade it is not sufficient to say ‘Yes’. We must complete the missile count according to the Missile Count Procedure Protocol. Are you ready to commence the Missile Count Procedure?

NATOLE  Yes.

NICOLAI  Commence the Missile Count Procedure.

ANATOLE  One.

NICOLAI  Correct. That concludes the Missile Count Procedure.

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GUILTY

Alice is on trial for her failures as a woman (Originally performed at the Wolsey Theatre Ipswich. Cast of Four.2F2M 30 minutes)

ALICE   She tuts because there isn't one. She actually expects me to spend my Christmas morning sweating over 20lbs of dead flesh. Matthew has a turkey. If she wants a turkey why can't she go to him. My sister-in-law cooks a perfect turkey. And mum’s always going on about what a success he is - He's got his own business, kids in public school - Of course that's why he can't visit her. Because he's so busy isn't he. Whereas me, I'm not too busy. I have all the time in the world to spend with my mother. Because I'm just a housewife. And not even a very good housewife at that.

PROSECUTOR  Mothers and daughters are always closer.

ALICE  Are they? Is that a law or something? I mean, when was it passed? I don't remember the debate in Parliament. Who made it a law?

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THE ENGLISH DUDE

Terrible things go on at an English public school.(Originally performed at the Wolsey Theatre Ipswich. 3M.30 minutes)

Dear Mother,     Hope you are well. I do hope things are better at home. Confining father to the tower was probably the best thing to do in the circumstances. It’s hard enough to get staff these days without having them nailed to the outhouses. I'm afraid things here at St Mosley's are not much better, all in all. Mussolini house still haven’t won a single competition - not in rugby or cricket or even Chase the Black. Mind you we have had a lot of jolly bad luck. Just to give you one example: it was our turn to run the school foundry this year and wouldn’t you know it, the government have banned the under-tens from working with molten metal - and I thought the Conservatives were supposed to cut through all this red tape! Manoeuvres were just as bad - we lost two boys in Pinkley’s Quag. They said we shouldn’t have shot those boys but we were already an hour behind and there was fat chance of us being the first to stick the flag in Old Binjy as it was. Mr Offaly - you know, old PD - says we need new blood in the house, but the quality of new boys declines every year. They even let a coloured boy in this year. He was green.

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cockle

REVENGE OF THE MUTANT COCKLE

A giant psychopathic mollusc is threatening the shores of Great Britain (35 minutes. Cast of six.)Originally performed at the Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

CORPORAL It's a very dangerous mission, sir.

GENERAL  Did I say dangerous? I don't mean dangerous, men. I mean suicidal. You'll go out there and that cockle will reach out with its tentacles and, one by one, it'll smash you out of the sky.CORPORAL  Couldn't we send the British instead, Sir.

GENERAL  We're here to protect the British and only to kill in the event of the Liberal Democrats taking power.

GENERAL   Now men I would never ask you to do anything I wouldn’t do myself.

CORPORAL  Will you be leading the mission then, sir?

GENERAL  No. I will be in the heavily fortified bunker here watching it all through high-powered binoculars. It’s going to be tough because the waiting is the hardest thing.

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THE ADULTERER AND MR MOLE

A strange man called Mr Mole knows everything there is to know about Davies and his life.(Cast of Three.30 minutes)

MOLE  I've got this other graph to show you. I think it might help, you see, if we step back a bit. (TYPES AT HIS KEYBOARD) This graph plots the long lunch hours you and Miss Richards took over the last two years. See. Fairly consistent at first. Then, over the last few months, a slow, but distinct, decline. I'll just put a trend line on it, like so, extend the axis and... you see, your affair is going to end the minute that trend line hits the horizontal axis. Which is. 10:30 on the 2nd February next year.

DAVIES  That just ridiculous.

MOLE  I’m joking. I don’t know the actual time. Just the day.

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FROM BRUSSELS WITH FISH

James Bond is suffering from bronchitis and an embarrassing social disease (3M1F)

Q  Ah, well then what you need is a gun. (PRODUCES A GUN) Take a look at this one. You see the bullet goes in here. You pull this trigger thing and the bullet comes out of this hole. Bloody clever. Not only that but its got six thingies here.. .

BOND  Chambers..

Q  That's it, chambers. So you kill six people without putting any more bullets in.

BOND  I know what a gun is Q. I am licensed to kill, remember. What I'm looking for is more something like a wristwatch to kill people..

Q  (CHUCKLES) No, no, no. James you're getting all mixed up. It often happens with this technical stuff. See. Gun: kill people. Wristwatch: Tell the time. I mean if you got them mixed up, you could check if it's time for lunch and blow your leg off. I've seen it happen

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WIB

THE WOMAN IN BLACK II: DON'T CALL ME BABE

A solicitor visits the sinister Marsh House to make arrangements for its sale. But what malevolent forces await him there

DANVERS  This is no ordinary house. It’s a terrible house, evil, malevolent. It lives.

PATSY  Well, we’ll probably not mention that to the estate agent.

DANVERS   No estate agent with integrity would handle the sale of this terrible place.

PATSY  Probably just as well there aren’t any then.

DANVERS  Oh it’s fine and dandy in the daylight. But when the mist slides in across the causeway and tide starts lapping at the front gate. The night closes in and all hope dies. That’s when it shows it’s true colours

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PERVERT

Linda suspects her friend may be a paedophile(15 minutes Play.2F)

LINDA   He just sounded so weird. He said if I looked in his bag…. I wouldn’t want to know him anymore. He was really upset.

KERRY  Look, all it is, is some revolting porn. I mean, men are always carrying porn about. They’re always swapping videos in the office. They think we don’t notice. Men are pathetic. You know they are.

LINDA  Yeah but a bit of porn wouldn’t put me off David. It’d just mean he was a normal man.

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THE BELLS,THE BELLS

A brash northerner arrives in the village doesn’t approve of the church bells

HARRIS  Oh yes, that’s right. It’s them bells.

VICAR  Yes. Our bells are quite famous.

HARRIS  That’s as maybe, but the thing is that I like to have a lie in of a Sunday and I can’t ‘cause of the sound of those bloody bells – pardon my French.

VICAR  They are loud bells. In the past they have been used to warn the village of forthcoming danger. In the Second World War apparently they were ready to warn of a Nazi invasion.

HARRIS  Well we’re not expecting a Nazi invasion are we. Not last time I looked. Bloody Romanians maybe. Pardon my French.

VICAR  My point is that those bells have been ringing for five hundred years.

HARRIS  And that’s exactly what it feels like on a Sunday morning.

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LORD AND MASTER

A man strays onto to private land and is confronted by the owner(Cast of Two.10 minutes)

RADSHAW   I just want you off my land, lad. Now.

STUMPY  OK (STARTS TO WALK AWAY)

RADSHAW  Where do you think you’re going?

STUMPY  I’m getting off your land.

RADSHAW  Not that way.

STUMPY  It’s all your land. Whichever way I go, I’m getting off it.

RADSHAW  Go back the way you came.

STUMPY  Is that the shortest way?

RADSHAW  That’s irrelevant.This is not a public footpath. You have no right to cross this land.

STUMPY  You just said you wanted me to get off your land. I’m trying to do that and now you’ve stopped me. Make your mind up.

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THE BODY

Dave accepts a favour from a neighbouring criminal and now it’s payback time (Cast of Three.30 minutes)

DAVE  I just took it for its MOT. Failed of course. Miserably. And it’s going to cost at least a grand to get it fixed. I’ve been hoping that someone might steal it. But then who’d want to nick a car like this?

MERV  You’d be surprised – they’ll nick anything, kids these days, dunno what’s the matter with ‘em. When I was their ‘age, I only went for quality

DAVE  I don’t think even kids would want this one.

MERV  ‘Fing is, these things can be like arranged y’know.

DAVE  What d’you mean?

MERV  Well believe it or not, there’s certain disreputable sorts who’d nick anything if it ain’t nailed darn.(PAUSE) Especially if I ask ‘em to

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SKETCHES

NEW FILMS FOR ARNIE

CHILD   Oh Mary Poppins, you’ve shot the chimney sweep to death.

ARNIE  Yes. I het to do it.

CHILD  But why.

ARNIE  I fount hiz eccent unbeliffibale.

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THE DIET

HOST  Well you’re not first on the market with a diet book. So tell us, what’s so special about this one, Roger?

ROGER  Well Peter, as you know, most diets work quite well to start off with. People stick to them for a few days but after a while they get hungry, eat too much and before you know it they’ve put all the weight back on.

HOST  And your diet is different?

ROGER  I think so. With my diet, you can eat as much as you like and still lose weight, and because you’re never hungry, so the discipline never breaks down.

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THE PAINTER.

SPONSOR  (LOOKING AROUND) Yes but every picture in your studio is of big fat women surrounded by cherubs.

PAINTER  Well those ones are, obviously. But I’ve got loads of others round the back.

SPONSOR  Which are of? .

PAINTER  Well they’re mainly cherubs and fat women, I agree. No, no, hold on. There’s one of that ruined castle..

SPONSOR  Yes, that would be the one with the ruined castle surrounded with.. cherubs. And, if I’m right, lounging on those ruins…?

PAINTER  

A big… fat… naked… woman.(PAUSE) God you’re right. That is all I paint isn’t. Women and cherubs. Woman and cherubs. That’s terrible.

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CRIME SQUAD CSU

DAVID  Well you’ll probably want to look round, look for prints, clues, all that sort of stuff. We’ve seen it all on the telly.

ROBERT  Really?

DAVID  So… Do you want to look for clues?

ROBERT  No.

DAVID  No?

ROBERT  Not really.

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