Christmas Live! (Part 4 – The Conclusion)

Previously in Panto – Deed Poll to  Prison, Thames IslandsWoolworths songs, and now the conclusion

“Welcome: To the Palace of the Mountain King!” yells Joe Longthorne. He’s cross-legged in fanciful silver ball-gown, plumes of white feathers around the collar. Sat upon The Iron Throne, a peacock’s splendour of daggers elevated upon cascading steps, he motions his head downwards to Jetfire, Heller and the others. All are caged but for John Craven.

king joffrey longthorne John Craven Betrayal

“Driving home for Christmas”, he harks, “These people are just the same as me!” Risen from his throne clapping, he ponces grandly down to meet them. He teases ruby fingernails along the bars of Jetfire’s cage. “Well, well. What have we here? A Transformer. More than meets the eye, I’ll say! Aye Eye!” he laughs now. “Well my darling. I must say I’ve never tried to impersonate one of yours. What crimes have you committed?”

“ government won’t allow me to live here, unless I work for the arms companies. But I ha-have a degree in neuroscience that could help many people.”

“I see, you’re, caught” Words tickle out as Longthorne reaches through the bars and strokes Jetfire’s arm.

“You sold us out John Craven. You’re a traitor!” yells Heller, unable to control himself.

Longthorne laughs again. A light girlish laugh, at first endearing like the best bowl of cereal then obsequious, as if steeped in milk for four days. Yet not sour.       “John is here at my pleasure. Think what we could do by ruling together John. I could dress for you and you could dress for me. Lipstick and eyeliner, oh, it’s so much fun.”

“Well, it’s not out of the question” said John raising an eyebrow and smiling.  With the same smile he shakes his hairy head like a jolly dog. ‘No’. “No, I’m afraid it wouldn’t work Joe.”

“Oh come now. I’ve dressed as hundreds of celebrities. But the truth looks so good on you.”

Miley Merrick rattles her cage fiercely and slides to it’s base. Tori reaches through. “It’s okay Elephant Girl. You’ll be noticed soon.”

“You there! Let those women go!” demands Carnacki.

“You’ve had so many identities that you don’t know who you are anymore. Who’s really in charge here?”

Heller saw Longthorne was shaken by this observation and pressed home the advantage. “Did they do to you what you’re going to let happen to John Craven? Filled full of wires and zapped with shocks to become just another tool of the State?”

Longthorne rages. “What about you Autobot? Do you think I’m just a weapon?”

Jetfire spoke with sadness.

“I just know myself. I’m Jetfire. That is who I am and I’m glad of it. I can think of nothing worse than not knowing who one really is.”

Just then the ground quakes.

John Craven rushes to the window. “Joe, it’s the London Met dressed as Boba Fett. Hundreds of them.”

Six officers enter the room and surround the prisoners as the news-reader darts behind Tori’s cage.

“Whooooo disrupts my Coronation?” asks Joe.

“Coronation Longthorne? This is bad comedy!”

It was the Wooden Blocks. Haunting mannequins, ghosts of expression. Daniel Cameron, and with him his lieutenants Neil Clegg and Gordon Osborne. “Why are these scroungers not in rehabilitative security at the Winter Snaps?”

“You serve at my leisure Daniel.” cautioned Longthorne.

“Oh?” Cameron’s face puffs like a blowfish. He turns to Neil and Gordon. “Haw Haw Haw Haw” he yawps and they echo his cackles. “We serf at his leisure?”

The words sound baby-speak, mocking, twisted.

“HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW” and for a full minute all the politicians and guards hawed.

“Joe, if you can be anyone, don’t be a no-one”, says Jetfire and there is silence.

“Who played you Joe?” asks Heller.

Joe looks over to John Craven beaming back a broad smile. He tosses bunched keys across the room.

“I won’t allow it!” yaps Gordon and stamps his feet three times. “It’s not fair, it’s not fair!”

Now see Joe Longthorne punch Neil Clegg in the face.

“Target Special Agent Longthorne!” yells Daniel Cameron.

Every heavy firearm in the room raises to Daniel Cameron’s head until he is clear of their sights.

“He’s slipped into costume!” calls one of the shock troops, aiming his weapon at Gordon. All guns turn. Everyone is still. John Craven and Tori Amos pause with those caged, watching, considering. Then, Daniel Cameron moves. He’s running off stage there, like a big yellow-belly scaredy-cat and is shot full of rapid bangs. The sound echoes around Chumberly Village Hall. You could almost run around later with your friendsand pretend to be shooting Daniel Cameron, that’s how loud it was. The London Met Boba Fett shock troopers turn on each other. Their guns are squeezy washing up bottles with water inside and they squirt shots and fall to the floor. There is one left standing.

“Joe Longthorne!” he says, approaching Neil Clegg. He detaches his cartridge from his gun and shakes it up and down then opens it by screw top. He bashes the base of it and tomato ketchup drollops out and covers Neil Clegg’s bloody nose. Then the trooper kicks him in the bollocks.

“Arghieee, that really hurt. Mummmieeee!”

Our heroic band are out, rescued, but Miley Cyrus bum-rushes the Shock Trooper into an open cage and it closes behind the two of them. Captain Heller’s gun points to the Chancellor’s head. The Surfer comes around to join him.

“Not so fast Gordon Of Osborne.”

“I knew we’d find out who’s really behind this.”

Osborne pulls his own face off. “He was inside one of those Shock Troop uniforms.” says Joe, who were beneath the mask. “I dressed him in it after I punched Neil Clegg.”

“I’m glad” says John Craven.

“Now I am free I can begin to heal this battered heart. Thankyou, my new friends.”, he says eagerly shaking the robot’s hand. “I have something for you.”

Joe reaches into his pocket and pulls out two small books, which he gives to Jetfire and Captain Heller.

“Passports: Jetfire, for your citizenship and Captain Heller – we’re going to need a good leader to take this country from the dark ages. What do you say? Will you stay and help?”

“And forget all this ever happened?” asks Heller sceptically.

“I agree. And don’t you all have homes to go to?” asks Carnacki. “Now, shoo! Off you pop! Out into the street!”

And with that the performers exit, pushing Miley and the trooper off-stage.



* * * Curtains * * *


‘Do they Know it’s Christmas?’ charges towards the speakers. It’s a cover version by Rammstein. The actors bow; we clap.


“Well Ta Gnat Thank Gad It’s Tham, In Staidddd of Yoo”


They take a second bow and throw out Punk prowls and Kung-Fu kicks.



* * * Curtains * * *






A Christmas Panto, hyperlinked in one part, two part and now 3.

Blue curtains part, we hear a long fart, draws us to the contorted Miley Cyrus on the pavement with the rest. They are sad. Behind them a grey grill front Woolworths store shot with red flame. The flames are really convincing. Not at all like that puny bright red foil cut into star shapes with pinking scissors because real scissors couldn’t be found. There is an advert in the window for an ‘Apple iSelection Box – Reduced To £249.99″. Tori Amos lifts a red aluminium can from the floor and throws it viciously across the stage were it clatters, rolls from sight. John Craven lifts his head up.

“Coca-Cola are putting people’s names on the side of their cans. They even got John!” he beams.

“That one was Jose. One of their murdered Colombian plant workers range” she admitted sadly.

Nobody spoke. They sat by that intersection of grilled up shops. Carnacki lifts the larger part of a smashed bauble from the ground. Miley Cyrus rocks to and fro beside him and he turns to calm her.

“No Miss Merrick. I wish we could go to Lapland, or Greenland. But our only hope is to stomp out this tyrannical power structure at it’s source. We must wait for the bus to Whitehall.”

“This isn’t how Christmas was in my day.” quipped Craven, sensing the darkening. “My father bought me my first knife, made of chocolate. It was an unusually warm Christmas Day, and after family time, he’d take me down to the local river and we’d test out our new fishing equipment together. We’d catch a few chocolate fish. But it was in the Summer, when we’d sail the Chocolate Seas together, that the real magic happened.”

The players are silent.

“What do you suppose is the worst Christmas song?” asked The Silver Surfer.

“The one that really gets me is that drumming song. You know, it’s really chirpy. Its as if it’s being sung by the Boys Brigade as they give biscuit tins to pensioners. But it’s all just a lead up to the central refrain.” Jetfire chokes on his words, he’s crying. “‘I wish I was at home for Christmas’.

“Stop The Cavalry by Jona Lewie.” says The Surfer, pleased at his recall.

“Its actually an anti-war song urging disarmament”, says Heller.

“And now we’re set for the firing squad. This Longthorne will want us executed surely.” said Carnacki matter-of-factly.

“You know what I can’t stand?” says The Surfer. “’Driving home for Christmas?'”

Carnacki raises his elbow and bobs his pipe. “That’s a fine song!”

“You Kiddeth Me! The tune sounds like he’s dancing up a motorway! ‘I look at the driver next to me. He’s just the same?’ It’s wretched vomit.” he snarks.

Carnacki moves uncomfortably and John Craven puts his arm around him and looked along the row.

“At least you know what you’re getting. The tune and delivery tells you it’s melancholic outsider pop, and it quickly establishes itself as having popular base appeal. Chris Rea is the poor man’s Tom Waits and he never pretends to be anything else. He’s antidotal to that other Chris – De Burgh.”

That’s a good argument. How can you not like John Craven?

The grizzly freighter Captain raises his arm and speaks with confidence. “The Band Aid one.”

Tori laughs. “It’s like ‘The Walking Dead’, that song.”

“It’ll put years on you!” smirks Heller slyly.

“Dung! Duh-Dung!” says Tori, slouching slowly to her feet. She jerks towards the front and her chin protrudes fatly. Her motions are like a zombie, screwed up mocking eyes and teeth.

“Dung! Duh-Dung!” said Heller, shrugging his dust-jackets’ shoulders out, and flapping his arms by his sides.

“Duuung!” yelled Miley.

Tori pulls a cigar from her pocket and took several puffs, rasping out, “Its Crusmus Tummm”

Heller at the edge of the stage beckons a pensioner in the front row. He pulls a large service revolver from his jacket and presses it firmly against the man’s nose.

“There’s no need to be afraid” he sings with a smile to screaming children.

“A-At Christmas Tie” sings the man visibly shaken. Heller releases him and he falls back onto his chair.

“We let in light and we banish shade!” boisterously delivers Carnacki.

Christmas Live 3

“Duuung!” yelled Miley.

“And in our world of plenty” sings Jetfire rubbing his armour breast-plate.

“We can spread a smile of joy” sang John Craven.

“Purt Yar Marand Teh Weld @ Crusmus Tum” screamed Miley Merrick flapping about like a seizure crashing into The Silver Surfer.

Like a finely honed classical ballet dancer he strides. “But say a prayer” Down on one knee, he placing elbows on the other and joins hands to meet at his face. “Pray for the other ones”

Jetfire raises his arms, and his two wings become four, rotating to form an amazing spectacle. “It’s hard, but when you’re having funnnn” His tones are those of a desperate alien and his large hands wrap over his ears which resemble over-sized headphones.

“There’s a world outside your window”, Craven hopefully offers you and Carnacki warns , “it’s a world of dread and fear.”

“Where nothing ever grows, no rain or winter snows” sing Glenn Howerton and Alison Brie. They square off in a mock kung-fu tournament. Then, the seven performers lift their feet, delivering the hook line of the song together. “Do. They. Know. It’s. Crisp. Mass. Time. At. All?” The jolly tune kicks in now and they bulk up. They clomp around the stage, dancing like exuberant mad young things wearing clogs. Miley Merrick marks the beats, drowning out the vocals.

“Bum Bum Bum Bum Bum Bum! Bum Bum Buuum Bum..” and she is the first to fall out of formation. She clatters into Woolworths and a cage falls from the shop-front. Amos and Carnacki are by other buildings, and if on cue grills by them become the backs of cages that fall from the rafters.

“What demonology is this?” calls Carnacki.

Miley is yelping and the others have stopped singing.

“Oh now look.” pleads the Surfer. “I’ve never been against Longthorne. I’m completely harmless!”

But it was too late for he too had wandered into a trap.

“Stand still!” calls Heller, just as cages fall upon the Surfer and Jetfire.

Captain Heller and John Craven stagger back towards one another. Heller looks around tactically. To the audience, back to the shops. His prison falls from the sky, boxing him on all sides. He looks through the bars at John Craven.

“Have you betrayed us? Have you betrayed me?” he screams.

* * * Curtains * * *