Murder Most Vile by Chris Shelstone

This Play is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author's PRIOR consent

The scene is set at a local Hotel in the Bar/Reception Area

On stage is a reception desk and drinks bar, with some glasses and bottles
where the Hotel Manager Gordon is tidying up. He has been welcoming
the hotel guests (the audience) as they arrive. Gordon is singing to
himself (badly and can't remember the words). He is very enthusiastic
and tries extremely hard to be positive. There are some cocktail menus
on the tables for the audience guests, with some humorous cocktail
names, but they have all had a line put through them with the words
‘out of stock’ on them. He comes down from the reception desk area
to get closer to the audience guests.


GORDON: Good evening everyone, and a big warm welcome to (local
town/area’s) latest hotel offering, and I hope you are all looking
forward to your evening supper meal. I think I met most of you during
check-in, but for those I missed, I am the hotel manager Mr Bennett -
but you can call me Gordon.
This is a family run establishment. My nephew Billy is on work
experience helping with the accounts and contracts etc., and my cousin
has flown in from America to help with porter duties for a while. My
other cousin from France is on chef duties until we get someone else
more permanent. They will be around later to introduce themselves.
Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, our singing
entertainment for the evening after our meal has had to be cancelled.
I know, it is a bit of a blow, but there was a sudden illness that has
gone right through the band. Not the nasty life threatening one that's
caused chaos and suffering. Just a nasty flu thing, but they can't
perform and we can't get anyone at short notice.
Some of you will be hugely disappointed, but never fear, yours
truly has organised a Bingo session. Hoorah. Don't worry, I am fully
experienced in the process. However, I did get pulled up the last time
I ran one of these sessions. I was caught up in the moment when I
called out ‘Two fat ladies 88’. Not politically-correct these
days. I'm still suffering from the bruises I received from two large
ladies taking part. But all in a day’s work.
Some of you might have a few problems with TVs in the room. We've
had a new satellite system installed and there has been some
synchronisation issues. So, at the moment, if you want BBC1 go to
BBC2, and for BBC2 go to BBC4. BBC4 is on GOLD. ITV is on ITV2+1 and
ITV2+1 is on ITV3. ITV3 is on DAVE. We are still trying to find out
where you can find GOLD and DAVE. Oh, by the way, the sports channels
are on the Adults-only link. But don't worry, you won't be charged, as
it says on the screen. We will get it all sorted out soon enough.
On a positive note, our on-site hair salon, Waves, is fully
operational, despite the scaffolding you can see where extensions are
taking place. Not hair extensions, no. Ha ha. No, we are expanding the
salon you see. Call in when you get a chance, but please do wear the
hard hat provided on the approach to the salon. The Waves, Demi &
Beau, who run the salon, will make themselves known later. Finally, I
have to apologise for the lack of cocktails available. Our suppliers
of spirits let us down with a delivery due this morning. Something to
do with a mix up on our last payment due, but it should be sorted
today and hopefully a delivery will be made later. In the meantime,
there is whiskey available and a limited amount of sherry. We do of
course have an extensive range of H2O.
Anyway, I’d better get back to the desk, we have a few more
guests due to check in very soon. Be sure to let me know if you need
anything.

Gordon takes a dramatic bow and goes back up to the reception desk to
check arrival schedule, etc. George enters with travel bag and Banjo
Ukulele


GEORGE: Hi everyone. Is this 'Ells Bells', (Local town’s) newest
and finest Hotel? (Pauses and looks around). It looks more like a B &
B from the 70's if you ask me. I mean - look at the state. Is this
their excuse for a dining room? Looks more like the staff canteen from
Dinner Ladies. It says 'ere on ‘Tripped Advisor’ (Looking at
phone) it's a ‘casual seaside hotel option with an airy café’.
It's nowhere near the sea. Airy cafe? Is that where you can have your
'air done? I could do with a trim, I think I'll book an appointment.

GORDON: Good evening, sir. Can I be of assistance?

GEORGE: (to the guests) Oh eh. Sir. We're off to a good start here.
(Approaches reception desk.) Erm, yes. I received this special
invitation for evening dinner and overnight stay. Don’t know who
it’s from but it’s all pre-paid apparently.

GORDON: (takes card and checks the system) Ah yes, I have all your
details on the system. Mr Formbies I presume?

GEORGE: That's correct - George Formbies.

GORDON: Yes, there we are, sir. Sign here please, and here is your
card key. You are in room 13.

GEORGE: 13? You don’t have another one, do you?

GORDON: I’m afraid not, sir. It was specifically requested you have
that room. And we are now fully booked. Dinner is at 8.15pm. There is
a special table booked for you together with the other special invited
guests.

GEORGE: Other special invited guests? So there is a chosen few then?

GORDON: Yes, sir. They will be arriving soon. If there is anything
else I can assist you with just ring down. My name is Bennett. Gordon
Bennett.

GEORGE: Ok thanks Mr erm Bennett. Oh yes, what time does the
entertainment start?

GORDON: I'm sorry?

GEORGE: The entertainment. It says here on ‘Tripped Advisor’ you
have nightly singing.

GORDON: Ah yes, well as I was explaining to our other guests here, due
to unexpected sickness we have had to temporarily cancel the
entertainment. We can't get anyone else at short notice.

GEORGE: Well I think I can help you out in that department.

GORDON: I'm sorry?

GEORGE: Singing. I've done a bit of that.

GORDON: Well, I don’t know. I mean our guests are used to an
extremely high standard.

GEORGE: Oh, go on. I'm good you know. I won the local karaoke contest
in Wigan. (Or another local town)

GORDON: With all due respect, sir - this isn’t a karaoke establishment.

GEORGE: Look, it says here that you provide nightly entertainment
included in the price.

GORDON: Yes, but to be fair sir, an anonymous benefactor is paying for
your stay.

GEORGE: That's not the point, Gordon. It doesn't matter who is paying.
You promised entertainment, and I can provide it. I do a good George
Formby tribute act. (Accent turns broad Lancashire) Turned out nice again.

GORDON: George Formby? George Formbies. Okay, I get it now.

GEORGE: He's become very popular you know. I was performing at the
George Formby convention last month at the Imperial in Blackpool. Four
times a year they do that. You should have tribute nights here. Might
get you a bit more business.

GORDON: Well, you will have to audition of course.

GEORGE: No problem. My Banjo Ukulele needs re-stringing so it’s out
of action at the moment. Do you have a backing track for ‘A Little
bit of Blackpool Rock’ by any chance?

GORDON: Now that's where our superb sound team can sort it. Lucky we
have them here at this hotel. They are much sought-after in the area
you know. They’ve won awards. They’ve even been invited to Las
Vegas. Oh yes, you name it and they've got it. Watch this. (Calls over
to the sound crew) Have you got ‘A Little bit of Blackpool Rock?’

SOUND PERSON: (shouts) No.

GORDON: Oh, they don't seem to have that one.

GEORGE: Oh dear. What about ‘Leaning on a Lamp Post’ then?

GORDON: (calling over to sound crew again) What about ‘Leaning on a
Lamp Post’ then?

SOUND PERSON: Yes, we have that one. Say When.

GORDON: (to George) Yes, we have that one. Say When.

GEORGE: (calling over to sound crew) When.

The song is optional and can be referred as ‘you will have to
audition later’. The tribute act, and/or song be changed as well, to
suit the actor with some minor changes to the script. After song,
George sits on one of the chairs in front of the bar.


GORDON: Okay, you've got the job - for tonight. Get the hair sorted
out with some gel. Our on-site Hair Salon can sort that out. I'll get
the contract drawn up straight away. (Shouts off stage) Billy - if
you’re available, I'll consider giving you a season here in the
Autumn. Let’s see how tonight goes. The other invited special guests
will be here soon.

GEORGE: Well I can't think who they are. Do you know what this is all
about, Mr Bennett?

GORDON: Gordon, please. I've no idea sir, but I'm sure we will find
out soon.

Billy has entered during last bit of dialogue. He is quite monotone in
his speaking and never looks happy. The opposite of Gordon.

GORDON: Ah. There you are, Billy. Mr Formbies will be singing here
tonight. Draw up a contract please, here are some basic details. You
can get the rest later. And draw up a draft proposal for the autumn
season.

BILLY: Okay, but I still need to talk to you about the money in the
accounts.

GORDON: Later, Billy.

BILLY: But it’s important. We need to....

GORDON: I said later. Contract first - please!

BILLY: Okay, Gordon.

Billy goes to a nearby desk and starts to prepare documents.

GORDON: I'm sorry Mr erm… George. Where were we?

GEORGE: He looks a bundle of fun. Shouldn't he be at home doing
homework?

GORDON: Oh, he's my Nephew. It's a family-run establishment. Billy
helps out when he’s not too busy studying. He wants to be an
accountant, but his ambition after doing that for a few years is to
run a Jazz Bar.

GEORGE: A Jazz Bar. Good on you Billy, great ambition to have.

GORDON: He wants this to be a Jazz Hotel, but it’s limiting our
potential client base don’t you think?

GEORGE: Maybe, but it’s a good way to stand out from the crowd.
Anyway, who else has these special complimentary invites?

Juan Sheet enters suitably dressed in a white matador outfit.

GORDON: I'm afraid I am not at liberty to say, sir.

JUAN SHEET: 'Allo everyone. I believe this is where I am staying
tonight.

Juan works the room saying 'allo, 'ow are you to the ladies etc., and
eventually sees the reception area.


GORDON: Over here, sir. I will check you in.

JUAN SHEET: Ah ci, muchos gracias.

Juan approaches the reception/bar to hand over his card.

GORDON: I see you have your invitation card.

JUAN SHEET: Ci. The name is Juan. Juan Sheet. You may have seen me on
the adverts? I am very famous person.

GORDON: Ah yes - the information we received said you would be going
under the name of Juan Sheet.

JUAN SHEET: Well yes, that is my name.

GORDON: Oh yes, of course. Here is your room card. Sign here please.

GEORGE: So you are also invited. Do you know who is behind this and
what it's all about?

JUAN SHEET: I know nothing. The card just said to be here at this time
for dinner and overnight stay. All expenses paid. So I come.

Gordon checks him in and hands over the key card.

GORDON: Here is you key card. Dinner is at 8.15 with some other
special invited guests. Is there anything else I can help you
gentlemen with?

JUAN SHEET: What room number have I? I presume I ‘ave 1st Class
pent'ouse suite? I am celebrity you know.

GORDON: I'm afraid we have no penthouse suites here, Mr Sheet. You are
in a standard double room like everyone else. But I have put you on
the top floor. It’s a very nice room. Room 666.

GEORGE: 666. The hotel doesn’t look big enough for that many rooms.

GORDON: It isn’t. The previous owner had a bit of a sense of humour
and I thought we would leave them as they are.

JUAN SHEET: But I insist on 1st Class room with Butler service. I am
star.

GORDON: Everything is pre-paid for you on the basis of standard rooms,
which is all we have.

GEORGE: I'm sure you will be very comfortable Juan. Have a drink with
me. I'm sure Mr Bennett can arrange for our luggage to be taken to our
rooms in the meantime. I'm very interested to see who else arrives at
this special invite-only dinner.

JUAN SHEET: Okay, but I need the little men’s room first.

GORDON: It's just through that door there sir, and on your left.
(Indicates the way and Juan starts to exit) I'll arrange for the
porter to help with your luggage. (To George) I'll get someone from Go
& Blo, our hair salon, to fit you in, George. Have a complimentary
drink while you wait. Billy, will you keep an eye on the desk for me
and help with any drinks needed? The petty cash tin is under the
counter if you need access to any money, but I don’t think you will
need it.

BILLY: Okay, but we still need to go through the accounts.

GORDON: Later Billy, later.

Gordon Exits. George is sitting on a seat by the bar. Billy organises
drinks. Jack Daniels enters with Kim, his granddaughter.

JACK DANIELS: Here we are then. It's not the Hilton, but it will have
to do for the night.

KIM: You are joking, I hope. I'm not staying in this place. Look at it.

JACK DANIELS: Well I like it. It's quaint. It's nice.

KIM: Quaint? Nice? There's nothing quaint or nice about this place.

JACK DANIELS: Will you stop it. We've been invited to stay here so
here we will stay. If you can't behave I'll take you home.

KIM: Okay. Anyway - what happened to Nanny Amber?

JACK DANIELS: I told you before. She insisted on going to the boutique
to get more of her expensive make-up. She'll be here soon enough. I
need a drink and a sit down. Go and check in for me, there’s a good
girl.

Kim approaches Billy, who is now behind the check-in desk. On seeing
him, her attitude to the place changes. Jack sits by the bar near to George


BILLY: Hello. I'm Billy.

Kim hands over the invitation card.

KIM: Well hello, Billy. My name is Kim. It's a nice place you have
here.

BILLY: Thank you. (Checks the card) The complimentary invites are just
for Mr Daniels and Mrs Dextrous-Daniels.

KIM: Yes a separate room has been booked for me. Granddad booked and
paid for it on fantastichotels.com

Juan enters back in the room

BILLY: Oh yes, I have it here. You are in room 101. It seems that your
granddad and nanny are in separate rooms as well. Specially
requested.

JACK DANIELS: Suits me.

BILLY: Okay, good. Your granddad has room 6 and your nan has room 9.

Kim and Billy silently act out the rest of the checking in process,
passing her card key over, and silently chatting to each other whilst
the focus switches to the others. Juan re-enters.

JACK DANIELS: (seeing Juan) Oh my God, what the hell are you doing here?

JUAN SHEET: Good evening, Mr Daniels sir.

JACK DANIELS: Don’t you ‘good evening Mr Daniels sir’ me.

GEORGE: You know each other then?

JACK DANIELS: You bet I do. He had an affair with my wife.

Sfx dah, dah, dah. All look around to see where the sound is coming from.

JUAN SHEET: It was long time ago.

JACK DANIELS: It was last year at the Good Food Show.

The porter Gordon Zola enters. It's Gordon Bennett with a wig and
different jacket but it's obvious that it's Gordon Bennett pretending
to be someone else


GEORGE: Looks like someone has set you two up.

JUAN SHEET: I go.

JACK DANIELS: No, you'd better stay. I want to know who's doing this.

GORDON ZOLA: (in a bad American accent) Hi guys. I'm here to help you
with your bags.

GEORGE: Oh thanks. Erm, if you don’t mind me saying, you look a lot
like the manager who checked me in earlier.

GORDON ZOLA: Yeh, a lot of people say that. I am Gordon Zola, Gordon
Bennett is my English cousin. I'm over here for a couple of years to
help with the family business. Let me take your bags. Follow me.

(Gordon collects bags and starts to exit exit)

GEORGE: I think I'll stick around here for a while. I could do with
another drink.

JUAN SHEET: Me too.

JACK DANIELS: Kim, you go and check out the room. I'll be up later
when your nan eventually arrives.

KIM: But I was talking to Billy.

JACK DANIELS: Do as you're told for once.

KIM: Well I suppose I can see what's in the mini bar and watch TV.

GORDON ZOLA: Follow me, Kim. We’ll get you to your room first and
then I’ll drop off the other bags.

Kim exits with Gordon

There is an announcement over the tannoy system

Sfx Ding Dong (hi de hi version) ‘Call for Billy. Please come to the
kitchen area as soon as possible. Thank you’. Ding Dong.

BILLY: I'd better go. Gordon will be back very soon. Help yourself to
another drink.

Billy Exits

GEORGE: Is there anything else apart from sherry in this place. Let's
have a look.

George goes behind the bar and looks down underneath hidden from view.
This takes a few seconds.

JACK DANIELS: (looking at his watch) Amber should be here soon then we
can sort this out.

JUAN SHEET: Ci. I look forward to it.

JACK DANIELS: And you can drop that phony accent. We all know you're
really Roland from Preston. (Or local nearby town)

GEORGE: (pops his head up from behind the bar, then carries on looking
for drinks) Roland?

JUAN SHEET: (in normal accent) All right, but I don't know why you and
Amber are still together. She's not happy being with you.

JACK DANIELS: (standing up and getting angry) You stay out of my
personal life sunshine before I punch your lights out.

GEORGE: (popping up again) Hah. Found a bottle of whisky and some
suitable glasses. That will do nicely. Care to join me?

George pours out some drinks as Jack & Juan reluctantly agree. Amber
enters making a fuss. She is a bit of a loudmouth and moves about the
room making her way through the audience. During this distraction Juan
starts to read a magazine, which hides his face. George brings over
the drinks and sits with the others


AMBER: Finally. I can't believe how long it's taken to get here. The
taxi service in this area is terrible. I could have walked here by
now. And this place doesn't look up to much. Look at those curtains.
Like something from the eighties.

JACK DANIELS: Hello, dear.

[End of Extract]

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