An Evening With Lord Bramley Musical Comedy Whodunit (Ages 16 to Adult) by David Barrett, Script and Performance Licence
Lord Bramley is having a dinner party. In addition to his wife there will be four guests, none of whom have ever met him, although Gerard and Constance are known to Lady Bramley. Bramley is a practical joker and, unbeknown to his guests, he decides to invite a group of actors, The Poirot Players, to run a murder-mystery evening. To make this even more bizarre, one of the actors actually plays Lord Bramley and Bramley masquerades as the butler, whom he has given the night off. Two of the actors play fictitious guests. What seems a good idea to the eccentric Bramley soon turns into a disaster when the actor playing Lord Bramley is murdered. This is a musical whodunit lasting around 2 hours for 8m, 5f and a chorus of servants.
Ages 16 to adult
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This is a copymaster script with permission to photocopy or print off as many copies as you need for your rehearsals. Once we have received your payment, you will be emailed a download link for your script. If an actor loses a script, simply run off another.
You will need a performance licence for every performance of the play.
An Evening With Lord Bramley Sample Script
Lord Edward Bramley (impersonating Jenkins, the butler)
Lady Alice Bramley
Constance Whetherby, Gerard’s fiancée
Jenkins, the Butler
Mabel, the maid
Archibald, aka Inspector Witherspoon, (Lord Bramley’s estranged heir)
Chorus of servants
Actors of The Poirot Players:
Mike, playing Lord Bramley
Geoff, playing Sir Richard Braithwaite M.P for Rutland
Claire, playing Lady Pamela, Richard’s wife
Steve, playing O’Malley, the detective
Scene 1 The Drawing Room at Bramley Hall
(The drawing room is decorated in a rather dated style with traditional frilled standard lamps, leather chairs and sofa, several card tables, an ornate sideboard, candelabra on the mantle-piece and numerous family portraits around the walls. Jenkins, aka Lord Bramley, dressed as a butler, is busy arranging trays of glasses and pumping up the cushions in the drawing room. Enter the real Jenkins, in less-formal dress.)
BRAMLEY Ah, Jenkins, just in the nick of time. I need to ask you about the wine list.
JENKINS Certainly, my lord.
BRAMLEY You know I never venture into the cellar these days - damn gout. I’ve only a dim memory of the lie of the land. Will I be able to find the necessary intoxicants.
JENKINS My lord, permit me to remain and advise you.
BRAMLEY Certainly not, Jenkins, I’ve given you the night off and the night off you shall have.
JENKINS But, my lord,
BRAMLEY No buts….. You know how I like a practical joke, Jenkins. Tonight, I shall be Jenkins. My guests shall be arriving soon, including those from the Poirot Players and I shall wait on them.
JENKINS But, my lord, will your guests not recognise you?
BRAMLEY Absolutely not! Two of them have met Lady Bramley but none of them are yet known to me. I suppose they may have seen me from a distance, at the polo or the races, but they’ll not recognise me out of my tweeds. And three of them are not really guests; they are actors. One will be playing myself and the two others will be masquerading as guests.
JENKINS And is Lady Bramley…….?
BRAMLEY In on the game, of course. She’s always wanted to go to a murder-mystery dinner - and tonight she shall - in her own dining room.
JENKINS As you wish my lord. (Aside) I wouldn’t want to be the one to spoil your little game.
BRAMLEY Now, about the cellar….
JENKINS Very well, my lord: (The following dialogue should be rhythmic and increasing in dynamics and tempo.)
Your first task, my lord, is to fill a flask with the best Madeira from the dark oak cask
BRAMLEY (Parrot-fashion, attempting to memorise the instructions.) A flask of Madeira from the dark oak cask.
JENKINS The next thing to do is to carry up the brew in the bottles coloured blue with a turquoise hue.
BRAMLEY Bottles coloured blue with a turquoise hue.
JENKINS Then take a quart of wine from the rack of pine made from burgundy grapes from the Duke’s best vine.
BRAMLEY A quart of wine from the rack of pine.
JENKINS Don’t forget to chill the champagne from Brazil but warm the brandy and keep it handy.
BRAMLEY Warm the brandy and keep it handy.
JENKINS From the back of the rack at the top of the stack, take a bottle of port with a light brown cork.
BRAMLEY A bottle of pork with a light brown court.
JENKINS The new red rum’s in the rose coloured drum but you’d better watch out for the leaky spout.
BRAMLEY I’d better watch out for the speaky lout.
JENKINS That’s everything, my lord.
BRAMLEY (Aside) Thank goodness for that. Thank you, Jenkins.
JENKINS Will that be all my Lord,
BRAMLEY Yes thank you, Jenkins.
JENKINS Very good sir, and good night sir.
BRAMLEY Good night Jenkins. (To himself) My first task is to fill a flask with the best Madeira from the dark oak cask.
(He exits, then re-enters, takes a decanter and exits again. Enter Mike, through the other door, dressed as Lord Bramley. He wanders around to take in the surroundings, inspects the drinks on the sideboard and sinks into one of the chairs.)
MIKE (Practising his banter, he repeats the following line in several voices, eventually settling on a gravely, slow aristocratic drawl with an occasional stutter. He jumps up to say the line the last time as if welcoming a guest.)
Ah, good evening Sir Richard, Lady Pamela. Good of you to come at short notice.
(Jumping to one side and impersonating Lady Pamela) The pleasure is all ours, my lord. How gracious of you to invite us.
(Enter Bramley, as Jenkins, with the decanter, unseen by Mike.)
(In Bramley’s voice) Do have a seat, my dear. Anywhere you like.
(Lady P) I think I’ll sit over here in the corner. That way I won’t make a nuisance of myself….
MIKE Cor blimey, you made me jump. I mean, goodness, my man, you did give me a start.
BRAMLEY I say, you are a very good likeness, very aristocratic-looking. You haven’t quite got the voice yet though.
MIKE I’m working on it. (Mistaking Bramley for one of the servants) Where is the crazy old fart anyway?
MIKE He asked me to get here early so that I could acclimatise myself before welcoming the guests.
BRAMLEY (Goes to speak, but is interrupted.)
MIKE Don’t tell me, he’s in the library reading a leather-bound tome, or perhaps in his counting house, counting out his money, or in front of a mirror with a plumb in his mouth, practising his la-di-dah. I know what these stuck-up lords are like.
MABEL (To Bramley) My Lord, Lady Bramley has requested your assistance in the hall.
(Mike is frozen into a position of horror with a wide open mouth.)
BRAMLEY Certainly, Mabel - and remember, from now on I’m Jenkins, the butler.
MABEL Certainly, my lo…… Mister Jenkins.
BRAMLEY (Turning to Mike) A splendid start, Mike. Keep it up. (Exits)
MIKE (Unfreezing) Cor, strike a light, that was never ‘im.
MABEL That was Lord Bramley.
MIKE (Aside) You’ve put your foot in it again, Mikey!
(To Mabel) But I just called him a crazy old fart.
MABEL You….you (Pointing from Mike to the door repeatedly)…a crazy old fart?
(She breaks into hysterical giggles. Mike goes to the door but as he opens it a long line of servants enters, carrying bowls of fruit, dusters, feather-dusters and brushes with dust pans. At the same time the introduction to the song starts. During the song, the servants dust sweep, wipe and set out the fruit on silver plates. Mabel continues to giggle throughout the song.)
SONG 1 The Family Pedigree
(During the last verse, Bramley enters with a hop and a skip, carrying a silver tray of glasses, which he places on the side-board. As the song ends Bramley and all the servants exit except Mabel. Mike pours himself a drink from the decanter, which he downs in one.)
MIKE You can’t beat good old Dutch courage!
(He takes a silver bowl of grapes and moves to the corner chair. He continues to practise the dialogue as before and discovers that this is easier with some grapes in his mouth. As he practises he puts more and more grapes in his mouth. Meanwhile, Mabel still has the giggles. Picking up the Madeira decanter, she takes a long swig then notices the level looks a bit low. So, she looks around, takes some flowers out of a vase and tops up the decanter with the dirty vase water. She then wipes her mouth on the corner of the table-cloth and as she does so, enter Bramley. He does not notice Mike in the chair. While wiping her mouth, Mabel crouches and sings ‘Lord Bramley is a Crazy Old Fart, then giggles.)
BRAMLEY (Peering around the table.) Mabel, what on earth are you doing?
MABEL My Lord, you startled me.
(She hiccups due to the effects of the Madeira.)
BRAMLEY My name is Jenkins, Mabel!
MABEL Yes, sorry Jenkins-Mabel
BRAMLEY No, just Jenkins.
MABEL Just Jenkins.
BRAMLEY (Aside) Now, where was I? Oh, yes, (he does a little dance as he heads towards the door, chanting) the next thing to do is to carry up the brew in the bottles coloured blue with a turquoise hue.
MABEL I beg your pardon, my lord?
MABEL I mean, Mabel; I mean, Just Jenkins.
(The doorbell rings. Mike jumps up holding the bowl of grapes.)
BRAMLEY Tally Ho, they arrive at last. (Exits)
MABEL He really is a crazy old fart!
MIKE My goodness the t..t…t…time has arrived.
(He looks around for somewhere to put the bowl of grapes and places them on the chair he has just vacated.)
Good evening, Duchess, how nice to see you. (He practises a few times. The last time he stutters. Enter Bramley with Lady Bramley, Gerard and Constance. Bramley stays upstage)
BRAMLEY The Lady Bramley, Mr Gerard Hissington-Wasserby and fiancée,
Miss Constance Whetherby.
MIKE Thank you Jenkins I do know my own wife.
(He guffaws with laughter. Lady Bramley glares at him but Gerard and Constance join in politely with the laughter.)
MIKE Gerard, how nice to meet you; Constance I am charmed.
(He bows slightly and kisses her hand.)
CONST Why, thank you, your lordship.
MIKE I hear you’re a cousin of the dear Lady Bramley, Gerard, from Australia.
GERARD New Zealand, actually, and quite a distant cousin. It would take too long to explain. In fact, I last saw Alice when I was a baby. Don’t remember it, of course.
LADY I remember you - all wind, dribbles and boo hoos.
CONST I think that applies to all babies, my lady.
MIKE Well, what brings you here from the colonies.
CONST A boat! (She guffaws).
GERARD A wedding, in fact - another cousin.
MIKE Oh, what jolly fun, eh! And they let you into the country with no problems?
LADY Edward! I said no convict jokes.
CONST Some of the populace are bred from good aristocratic stock, you see.
MIKE Breeding good stock, eh?
LADY You mean ‘good breeding stock!’
GERARD Constance, dear, are you warm enough? There is a chill in the air tonight.