Watkins, the Butler (a shrew)
Prologue: SONG 1
In front of curtain. Actions mimed by animals
The Parlour at Toad Hall
REPRISE OF SONG 1 (optional)
TOAD: (Looks in mirror) Oh, what a handome fellow I am. Wouldn’t my ancestors be so proud if they could see me now. (looks at portraits) Horatio Toad, now he was a fine fellow. Battle of Trafalgar, Waterloo, where would we be now if it weren’t for poor old Horatio? (looks at watch) Golly gosh it’s past time for afternoon tea. What on earth has happened to Watkins? (calls) Watkins ….. I don’t know, I just can’t seem to get the staff nowadays. Wouldn’t you have thought they would be queuing up for a position in my household. Watkins is not such a bad chap. He tries hard but who ever heard of a butler who was hard of hearing. He is always mixing up the orders. I asked him to get cook to do me a roast lamb last night and what did she do me? You’ve guessed it – toast and jam. (straightens a picture) Ah, Laurence Toad of Arabia, another fine fellow. (doors open) Ah, Watkins, do come in, I see you have brought my tea.
WATKINS: Uh, no sir. I have just brought your tea.
TOAD: I beg your … Oh, never mind Watkins.
WAT: Yes sir I am very behind. That incompetent footman. He asked me if he should polish the door of my pantry. Of course I agreed. No harm in that, keep the rascal out of trouble and the door did need a polish. So what did he do? Polished the floor so I could not prepare your tea until it was dry. Typical of these squirrels, can’t follow a simple instruction. I always say they can’t be trained. Will there be anything else, sir?
TOAD: Well yes, actually Watkins there is just one other thing.
WAT: Very good sir. Then I’ll be off. (exits muttering to himself leaving TOAD exasperated)
TOAD: (Approaches a broken painting) Poor old Sir Francis Toad. He has never been the same since those … creatures, I can hardly bring myself to say … Weasels … took up residence. Here in my ancestral home. They are such nasty creatures – always cooking up some wicked scheme. Heaven only knows where they are now. If I had my way it would be ‘pop goes the weasel’.
(The doorbell rings then WATKINS appears at the door)
WAT: Sir, Mr Pratt and Mr Bowles.
(Enter RAT and MOLE)
TOAD: Oh Watkins, you mean Rat and Mole. Come in my friends, it’s been such a long time.
MOLE: Oh Toad we have rather missed your eccentric company, we felt we had to come and see if you are alright, didn’t we Ratty?
RAT: Of course Toad. Life has seemed rather dull since we taught those little rascals the weasels where they belong. (TOAD offers tea) Thank you Toad. I must say your staff did a splendid job in clearing up the mess.
MOLE: But Toad, you do seem rather down in the dumps. There was no permanent damage done, was there?
TOAD: My dear friend, the damage cannot be counted in pounds and pennies. It is my pride that’s hurt … seriously hurt. RAT Well I know just the thing to cheer you up and help you to forget your troubles. We’ll go on a picnic. Just like old times.
SONG 2: In Those Not Too Distant Days
MOLE: Until tomorrow then. Three o’clock by the great oak on the bend in the river.
RAT: And Toad … do please try to stay out of trouble until then.
TOAD: Gentlemen, I bid you good-day. (bows)
(RAT and MOLE exit. TOAD draws back a curtain to reveal a computer. He rubs his hands in glee and proceeds to work on the keyboard)
TOAD: If only I had discovered computers earlier. What countless years of my life I have wasted waiting for this moment. Life will never be the same again. Now, let me see … Toad Hall accounts, month ending August 1921. Watkins wages: 20 shillings. Repairs to panelling in the Great Hall: £95. (aside) Account to be sent to the Chief Weasel. Repairs to caravan: £20. Birthday present for Mole: 5 shillings My oh my, am I going to have some fun with this. (exits calling) Watkins, Watkins.
As TOAD leaves the room, a small weasel enters through the window and relieves TOAD of the computer
End of Scene
CHIEF: Henry, get that floor scrubbed. Harold, get outside and polish the limousine. Herbert, go and get my violin-case pronto. Horace, some more cigars, I’ve run out. (to this, each replies in turn: “Yes, Boss”) Hubert, fetch my …. Hubert. HUBERT!
HENRY: He’s gone out Boss.
CHIEF: Gone out. What d’ya mean, gone out. He can’t just … Oh, never mind. The rest of yous come ‘ere and listen to what Hannibal has to say, at the double.
HANNIBAL: Well lads, you know that fat green slimy creature we caused a bit of bovver earlier on …..
HORACE: Yea, you mean that Toad.
HANN: That’s the one. Well, I’ve been casing the joint where he hangs out, called (with emphasis) Toad Hall (laughter) and I’ve got some information you might like to hear. You’ll never guess.
HERBERT: Go on Hannibal, what is it?
HANN: He’s got himself ….. a ….. computer. (Much reaction from the Weasels)
PERCY: Hey. You know what this means lads. If we could get our hands on that machine, just think what we could do with it.
HENRY: Yea. It could knock years off our campaign to take over the Riverbank and open our new regional headquarters at Toad Hall.
HERBERT: Just think: we could cream a little excess cash off the tax man and use the money to become the financial wizards of the wild wood.
HORACE: The other animals would not stand a chance. They would all go bankrupt.
PERCY: We’d be the scourge of every living creature in the wood.
CHIEF: Steady now boys. Don’t get carried away. But this much I will tell you; we have to have that computer. I don’t care how you do it. Stand on that Toad’s little green webbed fingers if you have to but get that computer.
SONG 3 The Computer Song
HENRY: Come on lads. What are you waiting for? Let’s go. (Much commotion as HUBERT enters, struggling to carry a heavy load)
CHIEF: Hubert, my office, five minutes.
HUBERT: But Boss. Wait a minute. I’ve got something to show you. Look at this.
(Gasps from WEASELS and shouts of wow, crickey, crumbs, fantastic, etc. as the computer is revealed)
CHIEF: Well done Hubert. You’ve got Toad’s computer.
HERB: Did he sell it to you? OTHERS Get over, come off it (and groans)
CHIEF: This is it boys. There’s no stopping us now. Next stop… Toad Hall, head office of the Weasel Enterprise Company. And then … who knows? Maybe even the Wide World itself.
(Cackles of evil laughter)
End of Scene
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