The Christmas season’s full of traditions and activities that we can only bear once a year. Not least of these is the Christmas Pantomime, where washed-up celebrities put on tights and encourage mobs of children to shout abuse at them.
Having published my first book just a couple of months ago, I thought ‘Why stop there?’ and decided to try my hand at writing a play.
Admittedly, it’s not quite as polished as Welcome to Biscuit Land, but it’s full of drama and intrigue and politics and death. It might not be the most festive panto ever written and it might not have much in the way of dialogue, but there’s something for everyone and it’s mercifully short. So, ladies and gentlemen, take your seats for tonight’s performance of:
If Biscuits Could Dance and Paint and Erect Easels
There’s a lantern in a darkened room. Poppy enters stage left. She leaves. She enters stage right. She leaves. She enters a biscuit. She leaves. There’s a biscuit, an iced ring, four iced gems and a horse on the table. Gandalf walks in. He sighs exasperated. A spaceship fucks a goat. Nineteen little dancing monkeys walk across the stage, fly up into the roof and ejaculate.
The biscuit is crying in the corner. Fourteen sheep roam about aimlessly. Somebody laughs in the back row, ‘Ha,ha,ha,ha.’ Poppy enters stage left. She clip-clops across the stage like a little trotting pony on acid. But don’t worry, there are eighteen elves to sort her out, whip her into shape and put her into a ballet costume. Poppy exits stage right.
There’s a loud clattering. There’s a choir of singing children, they sing a song about how poor they are and how they’d like to live in Exeter St David’s. Poppy comes in on a horse with a little fairy costume on and wishes them all a Merry Christmas and tells them about the ghost child in the bathroom. She fucks a biscuit.
Biscuits. There’s just biscuits in this bit – just a lot of biscuits. It’s raining biscuits over the audience. Biscuits. The lighting designer’s got a bit disco-y at this point. But like Poundland disco. It’s a Poundland disco with some Maryland Cookies.
There’s a conference centre in Exeter St David’s. The children and biscuits are lined up opposite each other having a debate about the benefits of sand dunes. Eight of the children are arguing for Palestine and there’s one American soldier who’s being slaughtered in the corner by a machine. It gets a bit dark at this point.
The biscuits spread the word about biscuits and about biscuits, and Poppy spreads the word about biscuits. And she shoes a horse with a biscuit. It doesn’t work very well. Then Samuel Beckett says, “Oh, I’m glad this play was about bears.”
There’s a Telethon with a horse. Challenge Anneka dies – management issues. So everybody’s in a forest. The Fairy Queen wakes up and the lovers are united by sheep.
Biscuit Factory, Wales, 1984. Things get better in Palestine. Let’s just cut out the politics from the play. We’ll cut out all the politics. We’ll just leave in the biscuits and the children and the peace treaty. So everyone signs a peace treaty about not eating biscuits and the biscuits feel better. But then their population explodes and they die of AIDS.
Don’t worry, the biscuits don’t really die. Poppy turns into Mother Teresa – a combination of Mother Teresa and Florence Nightingale – Florence Nightingeldof. Poppy turns into Florence Nightingeldof and she rides around on the horse between the broken biscuits being careful not to trample on their children. She heals them with a bit of icing sugar and sticky tape and then the audience applauds. Except for three people in the back row who are asleep because they hate biscuits, and the two people that are dead because they’re allergic to peanuts and nobody had mentioned the heavy concentration of peanut nutty biscuits.
Then the curtain flops down. And kills several people backstage. Don’t even get me started on what’s happening back stage. There’s a makeup girl having sex with an otter. There are ten pillar-boxes all lined up because they’ve got lined up from Dr Who. The children’s choir have snotty noses and too many crisps and there are fourteen extras who’ve just got lost from Barbara Windsor’s back room. But don’t worry because sound, lighting and Astroturf are all on hand. Everybody needs Astroturf at the theatre. I love the theatre motherfucker.
What do you think? I don’t go to the theatre much these days so I’m not sure how well it compares to your average West End show, but I think it’d be worth a watch.
“Kenneth Branagh loves Christmas.”