Hoodening Play 1983

Adam: (from door)
Go and sweep 'em with yer broom
Sounds as quiet as an empty tomb
Moll: (entering)
Move aside — we need more space
Quietly! Or you'll be in disgrace
Adam: (entering with Dobbin)
Com'on Dobbin, com'on inside
It's just the place to warm your hide
Moll: (pointing at Dobbin with her broom)
He's become a bloody shirker
No thought for the poor ol' worker
They're all out in the field right now
Just 'cos 'E won't pull a plough
Adam:
We want more space here on the floor
Our mates are coming through the door

[All others enter holding their aches and pains]

Joe:
Cor, my back's aching something chronic
Who'll give me a damn good tonic?
I've bin working down Belle Isle
Pushing my tool for many a mile
Boy: (sarcastically)
All you do is bemoan yer ills
Sod off to the doctor and get some pills
Or if you are in that much pain
You'll end up down Shuart Lane
And I don't mean down the Joneses
No! Next door, where the bones is!
I was working down Sarre Peak
Made me feel a little weak
Sam: (pointing to his temple)
Yes!! Weak you are, weak in the head
No wonder your legs feel like lead

(To the audience)

He pulled a plough all by 'imself
To preserve, he said, that horse's health
All I ask is a nice warm bed
It's 'is fault — 'e makes me see red
Moll:
Don't blame the poor decrepit horse
You just can't do it with brute force
Sam:
Won't I? Just you wait and see
I'll give 'im an acre, with my knee
Boy:
Ease off, Sam — This won't help
If he kicks out, you'll bloody yelp!
Joe:
This requires the subtle approach
Try some bait like catching a roach
A bucket of oats, or p'raps fresh hay
To set 'im up for the working day
Moll:
But the boss is too tight to give
Enough, to let any of us live
Boy:
This horse wants some good rich gruel
Nothing works without its fuel
Joe:
Don't be such a bloody fool!
Nothing will shift this lazy mule
Sam:
'Cept a stick of dynamite up 'is bum
Would blow the bugger to kingdom come!
Boy:
We none of us 'ere knows what's the matter
And why old Dobbin's as mad as a hatter!
Moll:
Food's not the cause of his sorry state
It's his son and heir's recent fate
Gorn off hunting in the shires
And steeplechasing between the spires
Round and round the fields he courses
Chasing all the other horses
Joe:
HIS SON? — Couldn't be a hunter
He looked more like Billy Bunter
Moll:
Don't be a disbelieving sod
Someone bought him, yes, by God!!
They saw in him something great
Joe:
They only saw him jump a gate
But food would help mend Dobbin's mind
For if his belly were well lined
Then he could cut our work by halves
Sam:
I don't care if he damn well starves
Joe:
Look, our backs can't take much more
And our fingers are all but raw
To get us out of this ruddy mess
He works more — an' we work less!
Boy:
We'd have more time to spend in't pub
consuming ale and a bit of grub
Sam:
We can't do that without some money
I don't think it's very funny
All this work — and no extra pay
I need more cash at the end of the day
Moll:
This old horse is our first task
Perchance some food — is all we ask
Joe:
In my bag there's a couple of swedes
If nourishing fodder is all he needs
[As Dobbin munches the swedes all sing the following song written by Martin, with Martin singing the verses to his own tune]

          Poor Old Horse

  1. I've given me dinner to this mangy old horse
                        Poor old HOSS
    Then p'raps through tomorrow he'll last out the course
                        Poor old HAWSE
    Our master's so mean that he won't spare the brass
    To buy him some oats; he just let's him eat grass
    I reckon one day he'll kick him up the farmyard
                        Poor old ARSE

  2. All that he thinks of is saving his ackers
                        Poor old HAWS
    He won't give enough to keep him from the knackers'
                        Poor old HOARSE
    He says if Dobbin shirks we're to give him a nod
    And he'll come along and he won't spare the rod
    So how can we grass on the poor old so-and-so?
                        Poor old WHORE'S

  3. But p'raps it ain't hunger what's taken its toll
                        Poor old ORS
    I reckon he's jealous of his little foal
                        Poor old AWS
    He thinks that flat racing's all glamour and sugar
    He hasn't heard Shergar got done by a mugger
    He don't stand no chance there, the silly old beggar
                        POOR OLD HORSE
Sam:
Well, that food's certainly got 'im moving
Mind you, I don't know what he's proving
Joe:
Oh, I see. He's jumping fences
Try bringing 'im to 'is senses
Moll:
Those swedes have really made 'im frisky
Just like Sam, after a snort of Whiskey
Boy:
Like young Dobbin being ridden to hounds
Old Dobbin's jumping in leaps and bounds
[Dobbin now proceeds to knock each person down in turn]
Sam:
Oh! He's knocked Moll to the ground
Boy:
Now poor old Sam, he's bin drowned
Joe:
Even the boy is heaven bound
Adam:
And old Joe too, has bin crowned
Well… This must be the intermission
And I'm only the poor musician
We'd better summon Bernard Cole
They'll need to dig a damn great hole
Just think — we need four horse-drawn hearses
Sixteen pall-bearers and their curses
We'll fill the church, and all the aisles
It'll keep the flock from Satan's wiles
Burying this lot will make quite a mound
(thinks!)
I've got a way to bring them round
Hey! Any of you lost this 'ere pound?
[Everybody leaps up and feels in their pockets]
Sam:
That's my money for this week's joint
Joe:
Well, just 'ave stew
Boy:
                    Yes, that's a point!
Then the rest of yer money we can borrow
Those swedes will keep 'im till tomorrow
Now he's finished his "heirs and graces"
Moll:
He was just showing us all of his paces
But he's not fast enough for the races
Just wanted to see the fear in our faces
Joe:
He seems quiet now, let's leave 'im 'ere
While we go off and have some beer
Boy:
But Sam's money just won't be enough
Dick will throw us out in a huff
Sam:
Up to the Bell for a couple of gills
We'll leave the boss to pay the bills
Joe:
Now you're showing a bit of clout
Off up the Pub for a glass of stout
Boy:
Come on, you lot, stop mucking about
My throat thinks there's bin a drought
Moll:
You lot all drink far too much
Sam:
All right — you won't have to go Dutch!
Joe:
Shut up, Moll, you don't 'arf whine!
Boy:
Come on, we're wasting drinking time
Well, we'll have to pool our resources
There's little money with working horses
Empty our pockets — There's nowt in it!
Sam:
There ain't — Hey! Just a minute!
Is that a betting slip I see?
Moll:
Yes, I've got money owing to me
I put some on his descendant
Now, of course, I'm independent
I really didn't think he'd win it
At the finish there weren't much in it
What he lacked in racing style
He made up in the last half mile
Sam: (holding braces)
Horse racing's not much of a science
I'd put my money where there's more reliance
A couple of bob at ten to one
Hardly makes a princely sum
Moll:
But this will do for collateral
Joe:
I think that would be only natural
Boy:
It's the way to purchase our booze
Sam:
And this way, only Moll can lose
Joe:
Now!! There's one thing before we leave
The objective we would like to achieve
This time of year we think of the child
And this idea will drive them wild
To provide the children with a slide
Moll:
Down which the girls and boys can glide
Out in the Meadow behind the Bell
Is where the kids all scream and yell
Boy:
The Meadow's there for all to use
The slide must be strong to prevent abuse
And by being very strong indeed
Its cost, present funds, will exceed
Sam:
Wantsum Sports have made a start
They need our help for the other part
Please contribute to our collection
And help us with this vast erection…
Joe:
Of a slide! Which is a worthy cause
It's for all our kids, for mine and yours
(pointing at Moll)
Yes, Moll's just had a baby daughter
Indeed, she's only just begort her
Moll:
She's a bit too young to go on a slide
In a few years time she can have a ride
Boy:
We make this our plea for alms
To keep the children away from harms
Help to keep them off the street
And give them somewhere else to meet
Sam:
Fun and games for them to use
So come on, pay up all your dues
Joe:
Dig deep into your trousers' pockets
And all you ladies unlock yer lockets
Moll:
We know this scheme's a bit expensive
But, please! Don't go on the defensive
Boy:
This year, please give as never before
To help achieve our target… For
All:
If ye the Hooden Horse do feed
Throughout the year ye shall not need

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