An endearing look back at past times, when Sunday School charabanc outings were very popular and deckchair attendants ruled the beach! A group of excitable children are taken to the seaside for a day out by Miss Weatherspoon, a typical spinster of her day, and Mr Tilley, her rather uninspiring assistant. As in any group, some of the children are well-behaved, but others like to ‘push the envelope’ to see what they can get away with. During their journey and throughout the visit we see their fun and enjoyment as they experience the delights of more innocent times.
There are some lovely pastiches in the play too - a typical end-of-the-pier comedy patter routine, of the: “I say, I say!”, “What do you say?”, “My dog’s got no nose”, “Really how does he smell”, variety! A Punch and Judy sequence in which Mr Punch and all the other characters change from puppets to real characters and also a visit to the mysterious Gypsy fortune-teller, with prophetic and profound results.
The principal characters use the interesting device of a ‘flash-forward’ speech in a tight spotlight, which tells us what happened in their lives after that day out, sometimes sad, sometimes amusing but always compelling. The audience are invited to share the feelings and aspirations of the individual characters.
Further pathos and comment is provided by the 1930’s style band and singer who provide another layer to the overall effect of this amusing but poignant play.
Whilst the character’s range from children to mature adults the play can be staged in a variety of different ways:
- A mixed-age society group
- A youth group who could play all the parts
- A co-production between a youth group or junior and an adult drama society
- Or, for the more adventurous, an adult group who play the children, similar to the concept in ‘Blue Remembered Hills’.
|(15m, 11f, 3m/f)
|* signifies a principal part
The Home Front
Mr Hobbs - 35-50, aspiring middle-class professional
Mrs Hobbs - 30-45, typical middle-class housewife of the period
The Sunday School Outing
*Miss Weatherspoon - a village spinster, ‘Miss Marple’, a Sunday School teacher
*Mr Tilley - another Sunday School teacher
Mr Reynolds - charabanc driver
*William Hobbs - 10-12, good-natured, ‘Jennings & Derbyshire’ type
*Jonathan Clegg - 10-12
*Philip Foley - 10-12
McDonald - 10-12
David Spencer - 10-12
John Smith - 10-12, Janet’s brother
Tucker - 10-12
Gordonson - 10-12
*Sarah Hobbs - 14-15, just about to leave school, relatively mature
Jacqueline Duckworth - 10-12
*Celia Jones - 10-12, quietly spoken, plain
*Catherine Jones - 14-15, Sarah’s friend, also just about to leave school
Mary Murphy - 10-12
Janet Smith - 10-12, John’s sister
At The Seaside
Tim - 15-16, a trumpet player in a Yorkshire colliery band on tour
*Miss Thelwell - a well-to-do lady
*Jimps - her nurse
*Sam - an old fisherman
*‘Professor’ Periwinkle - the Punch And Judy man
*Simon, the Bottler - 16-18, assistant to the ‘Professor’, audience-maker
*Pierrot 1 - either sex
*Pierrot 2 - either sex
Deckchair Attendant - 45-60, a ‘jobsworth’, either sex
Gypsy - a fortune-teller
Also required is either a small band, with vocalist conductor, to play the music, or suitable pre-recorded backing tracks.
It is the intention that the songs are sung by the band singer wearing a white tuxedo in front of a mock-up of an old fashioned typical 30’s BBC-style microphone.