“Up For It!
Click to hear the Overture"
Copyright © 1970 -2010 Tony Crimlisk
Additional copyrights David Dunn & Charles Lennon
First performed by the Aughton and Ormskirk U3A Musical Theatre Group March 20
The right of Tony Crimlisk to be identified as the Author and Composer of the Work
has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents
Act 1988. Apart from use permitted under UK copyright law, this publication may
only be reproduced, stored or transmitted, in any form or by any means, with written
permission from the Author/Composer. All characters in this work are fictitious and
any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
'Up For It!' - Reviews said: “The U3A have surpassed themselves with this outstanding show” and that they were “amazed at the energy and creativity, that Tony and U3A members have managed to put into the show.”
CAST OF CHARACTERS
MARGE (Mrs Murphy) - a widow, she feels strongly about government pension cuts and has organised a group to go to London to join in a demonstration by pensioners who hope to get publicity by stripping off in Trafalgar Square. She feels responsible for Pet after her parents’ death and tries to steer her clear of ‘unsuitable’ suitors.
GRACE – is another ’merry’ widow and a close friend of Marge. Her interests (apart from men) veer towards the gruesome and the macabre. She very much fancies Fred and eventually lets her feelings be known! (Both she and Fred might have Irish or Liverpudlian accents?)
TOM – in his late-fifties, he’s made enough money working in America to return to the UK and take early retirement in London - his birthplace. He’s met Pet socially previously and thought that joining the trip would be a good way of getting to know her better. He’s also intending to visit his younger brother John whose more relaxed lifestyle of domesticity he’s come to envy.
PETUNIA (Pet) - Marge’s niece and, after her parents died, rather dominated by her. She’s in her late thirties but has only been to London once before as a fourteen-years-old schoolgirl. She’s eager to see all the sights.
FRED – For some reason women find him very attractive. Not yet quite old enough to retire, he’s rather jealous of the lifestyle of those who are. He’s fiercely proud of his motor coach, grumbles a lot, and argues with Marge - but secretly admires her.
JOHN - Tom’s younger brother and the owner - manager of ‘Longjohn’s Cabaret Club’ – a heavily mortgaged but rather posh place in the heart of London’s West End. He has a different, more laid-back, attitude to life than his brother. Married to BETTY (previously engaged to Tom) they have several small children and a baby.
BONNIE - An ex-showgirl who is anxious to revisit some of the places where she worked as a young stripper in the 1960s. From very humble beginnings, she likes the ‘high life’ Arnold’s money can give her - but is also very fond of him. She usually affects a very posh, cultured, accent – but it sometimes slips!
ARNOLD – Bonnie’s well-to-do but meek husband - who eventually rebels!
CHARLEY - a nightclub entertainer, comedian and singer,
CHORUS of other pensioners on the coach trip; divided into those keen to go to a football match and those more interested in shopping.
Small parts: HUSBAND & WIFE, Hotel MANAGER, Two WOMEN, Two FOOTBALLERS, a SHOPPER, 2 x POLICEWOMEN, a SECURITY GUARD and two ‘LADIES’. Two or more WAITRESSES, some MALE VOLUNTEERS for the ‘Practice Rally’, John’s wife BETTY and two or more small CHILDREN.
Based on actual events (*) the musical comedy ‘Up For It!’ concerns a group of pensioners who travel to London to join a rally in Trafalgar Square where they intend to “strip off” to protest against pension cuts. An ancient coach drops them at a rather seedy ‘hotel’ called LLAMEDOS HOUSE - the name gives a clue! They sing ‘Up in London’. The coach driver, Fred, would like to retire to the country; the others encourage him. He sings ‘You’re Going to be a Long Time Dead’.
The group leader is Marge, a formidable lady, with her friend Grace. Both are widowed and on the look out for male companions. Marge explains what she looks for in ‘That Certain Man’. Also on the trip are Marge’s niece Petunia (‘Pet’ for short) and Tom who, after profitably working in America for several years, has decided to get out of the ‘rat race’, buy a house in London, and settle down. Tom tells Pet how good it feels to be returning to his birthplace singing ‘I’m Coming Home’. Tom and his younger brother John were once rivals for the same girl (Betty); John won and enjoys a happy family life with her and their children that Tom has come to envy. The brothers sing ‘Oh Brother!’ and the girls from the nightclub dance to the music. John invites Tom and Pet to his club the following evening.
Tom offers to show Pet around London. Grace thinks she needs a chaperone and asks to join them. Pet and Grace describe their very different sightseeing preferences in ‘London is the Place’. Also on the coach is Bonnie, an ex-stripper, and her hen-pecked husband Arnold; she plans to visit some of the ‘Places of My Youth’. Arnold, however, has other ideas and whilst some pensioners go shopping, Arnold joins a group of football fans singing ‘Up the Reds! and Up the Blues!’.
The following evening, after exploring the city sights, Tom and Pet arrive at Longjohn’s nightclub breathless and excited. They realise that they are falling in love; Pet sings ‘Starlight’. They go into the club as the cabaret is about to start. The chorus girls dance to ‘There Fly the Eagle’ sung by cabaret entertainer Charley. Suddenly Marge and the others barge in afraid that Pet is being corrupted by bad company. Tom assures her that it’s all very respectable and Pet describes how she feels about him in ‘Something Wonderful’. The romantic atmosphere is contagious and Grace comes clean about fancying Fred in the song ‘Crazy Baby’ whilst Fred reveals that he is actually very taken with Marge. The two girls suggest sharing him and Fred asks himself; ‘Why Not Take a Chance?’ and decides to take them both on.
Bonnie hasn’t heard from Arnold all day but he suddenly appears escorted by two policewomen and closely followed by two heavily made-up ‘Ladies’ (Tarts|) in mini skirts who Arnold had picked up from the stage door of a theatre. There’s a row and Bonnie and her rival exit fighting. Order restored, Marge tells the audience that it’s a pity they won’t see the stripping off in the Rally the next day when some of the men come on stage to music, apparently naked, but actually covered by a banner. Bonnie and Arnold return, arm in arm, for the finale when the whole cast sing ‘I Love You’.
*Eg: See photos in the Manchester Evening News for September 28th 2006 and the article ‘Victory for naked pensioners as state rescue extended: The Guardian 17th December 2007). For more examples search the internet for “naked pensioners protest” etc.