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Discover The Truth Behind Your Favourite Stories In This Stirring Musical Comedy That Begins Once Upon A Crime!
Description Synopsis Casting Sample Script Reviews

Craig Hawes, author of Pirates Of The Curry Bean, serves up his funniest show ever with Porridge the stirring musical comedy that begins "Once upon a crime"!

When a crime wave hits Happy Valley, there's a caseload of mysteries to be solved! Who's stolen Ma Hubbard's recipe book? Who's kidnapped Marigold the cow? And what dirty secret is Papa Bear hiding behind his Porridge empire? It's down to Private Detective Jack Spratt to uncover the terrifying truth in this tale of mystery, mayhem and breakfast cereal!

Join Jack, Goldie Locks and a cast of crazy characters including barmy billy goats, loopy lumberjacks, a potty police squad and a runaway cow in this brand new side-splitting musical comedy. It's a familiar tale, told like you've never heard before with familiar fairytale folk brought to life as you've never imagined! Porridge has all the ingredients of a delicious production - packed with spoonfuls of sparkling songs and bowlfuls of belly-laughs, this hilarious show will leave your cast and audience wanting seconds and shouting for more!

In the prologue our moody, mysterious narrator Jack Spratt, Private Detective, introduces himself and explains how crime has swept through Happy Valley. Dramatic music begins as the stage suddenly becomes an exciting whirl of frantic activity with a police squad in hot pursuit of an unknown criminal. Two reporters bring us the latest news of crime on the streets whilst a crowd of anxious onlookers gather and begin to sing the opening song, "Once Upon A Crime!".

The song ends and we are transported to Jack Spratt's office, where Jack calls the Police Chief about a recent case. Goldie Locks enters with a suitcase and, following a very comical set of misunderstandings, explains to Jack that she is in desperate need of his help. As she begins to tell Jack her story, a flashback transports us in space and time to the previous morning at The Dairy.

We discover the absent-minded Mother Hubbard who has once again lost her only cow, Marigold. Goldie enters and reminds Mother Hubbard that she is always losing things, such as her precious recipe book that went missing years ago. Simple Simon enters and he and Goldie unsuccessfully try to comfort Mother Hubbard. All are relieved when the local fairytale characters find and return the wandering cow to the dairy. Following a slapstick milking session, Tom-Tom arrives with a pig under his arm and the police in pursuit. Simon hides Tom-Tom just as the inept police squad enter. Pompous Inspector Drain interrogates the locals and with a little bribery discovers and arrests the innocent Tom-Tom.

Our two reporters return with live coverage of the reopening of The Porridge Pot Diner, Happy Valley's finest restaurant. The staff and customers give a rousing reception to owner Papa Bear, his wife Mama Bear and their son Junior, and celebrate by singing "The Porridge Pot". Goldie enters and chats with her friend Junior, who expresses his frustration that although he wants to be an inventor, his father expects him to work in the "family business". The Bear family are interviewed by the reporter and the scene ends with a rousing reprise of "The Porridge Pot".

Jack Spratt then takes us to the Porridge Pot's back room, where Papa Bear has a secret meeting with his half-witted henchmen, the Billy Goat brothers. It becomes clear that these furry felons are behind the recent crime wave, all part of Papa Bear's evil plan to flatten Happy Valley, build a giant Porridge Factory and take over the world! He gives them a list of crimes to commit and people to frame, along with a suitcase of cash to pay the lumberjacks to flatten the forest. He also reveals his secret suitcase full of evil plans - and Mother Hubbard's recipe book that he stole from her years ago which helped him build his restaurant and porridge empire.

Down at the Police Station, Inspector Drain is expressing his frustration over the recent crime wave and his squad's lack of policing skills. PC Plod is more interested in his suitcase of nuts which he proudly displays to everyone. An emergency call informs them that Humpty has been involved in a horrific wall related incident. The action moves immediately to Hickory Hospital, where Humpty is operated upon by Doctor Foster and Nurse Polly in a brief but hilarious medical drama. We switch straight back to the Police Station where we learn that Humpty was pushed. Bo Peep enters to report stolen sheep, and a comical identity parade leads the police to arrest the wrong suspect. Peter Piper is questioned about stealing pickled peppers, and in the face of all this crime Inspector Drain tells his squad it is time to spring into action. The ensemble enter to sing the comedy action song "Boys In Blue".

The following cold and frosty morning at the Mulberry Bush, Jack is on the watch for suspicious activity. Sure enough, the Billy Goats enter having kidnapped Marigold the cow. Papa Bear enters for another secret meeting but is overheard by his son Junior, who is horrified to discover the truth behind the family business. The lumberjacks enter and, after displaying their tree-felling skills, are hired by the Billy Goats who tell them to collect a suitcase of cash from The Porridge Pot at midnight. Mother Hubbard and Simon are searching for missing Marigold when Goldie brings them the ransom note she has found and vows to pack her case and go searching for Marigold. Simon tells Mother Hubbard to be positive and he and the ensemble cheer her up with the song "It's Up To You".

Later that evening we find a sad and reflective Junior Bear wondering how to deal with the truth about his father and why he cannot be who he wants to be. We also find Goldie who, too, dreams to be more than she is, and together they sing the touching duet "While The World Is Sleeping". At the end of the song, the two friends meet and tell each other everything. Junior hatches a plan and returns to The Porridge Pot whilst Goldie, suitcase in hand, goes to the office of Jack Spratt--and we suddenly find ourselves back at the very point where the story started. Goldie explains that Junior will leave his father's suitcase of incriminating secret plans at the restaurant for them to discover, and she and Jack set off to save the day.

Back at the Porridge Pot, the bears' evening porridge appears to be too hot to eat. Junior cleverly suggests they leave for a long, slow night time walk whilst it cools and as they leave he positions his father's secret suitcase for Goldie to discover. During a fast paced farce-like scene, various groups of characters enter and leave the restaurant with other suitcases of clothes, cash and nuts, each getting mixed up with the others. In a faithful nod to the traditional tale, the three bowls of porridge are tasted, Junior's chair is broken and Goldie is accidentally knocked unconscious, leaving her lying on the floor asleep and snoring loudly. When the bears return, they discover Goldie and call the police who arrive instantly to arrest her. However, the other groups enter one by one revealing the surprising contents of each suitcase. When the Billy Goats accidentally reveal the truth, Papa Bear denies all, but Junior finally finds his voice and courageously speaks up against his father. Mother Hubbard is reunited with her cow and recipe book and at last the police arrest the true criminal, Papa Bear. With a final word from Jack Spratt, the story is brought to a joyful conclusion as the ensemble sing the exciting finale song "Happy Ever After".

In the following list, the number shows how many spoken lines each role has. An asterisk (*) before the characters name indicates that this character ALSO has solo or featured sung lines.

Character Name Number of Lines
Jack Spratt 64
Papa Bear 61
Chief Inspector Drain 51
* Goldie Lox 48
Mother Hubbard 48
* Junior Bear 37
Little Bill 36
* Simple Simon 32
PC Plod 29
Big Bill 27
Mama Bear 24
Middle Bill 22
Dwayne Pipe 22
PC Doughnut 19
PC Fuzzbut 17
Rusty Hairclips 16
PC Flatfoot 15
Nurse Polly 14
Woody 14
Tom-Tom 13
Peter Piper 13
Doctor Foster 12
Bo Peep 11
Humpty Dumpty 8
Pip The Paperboy 6
Miss Muffet 6
Wee Willie Winky 4
Roxy 2
Ruby 2
Ruthie 2
Renee 2
Rosie 2
Rita 2
Rhonda 2
Robyn 2
Twiggy 2
Splinter 2
Chopper 2
Barker 1
Timber 1
Plank 1
Chip 1


Click below to read extracts from the Script or Piano Vocal Score:

Porridge Sample Script

Porridge Sample Score


Please note that an Easy Play Score is also available.

*These PDF files require a PDF reader such as Adobe Acrobat.

5 Star Rating

"A clever story, hilarious script and fabulous songs that our whole school loved performing. The parents and pupils are still talking about it - a spectacular success! "

Joanna Hall (Head Teacher), North Wheatley Primary School, Retford

5 Star Rating

"Having performed Pirates of the Curry Bean (by Craig Hawes) last year, we thought that it was going to be a very hard act to follow. However, Porridge was an excellent show - so full of jokes, one-liners and catchy songs. From the first rehearsal I knew we had a winner. All pupils had a chance to shine, as the script had so many central characters. They all had so much fun, as did the audience!"

Alison Hanson, St. Faith's C of E Primary, Winchester

5 Star Rating

"Years 5 & 6 did Porridge last term. They loved the humour of the script and songs, as did the audience. So many aspects were helpful - the list of props scene by scene, the choreography for the policeman's song, even the number of lines per character all made producing the show so much easier. And as usual with Craig's shows, we loved the music and the backing tracks. How he manages to produce one good show after another, virtually on yearly basis, is just fantastic. A great writer and one we delight in recommending to other schools. You're missing a real treat if you don't jump on board!"

Isla Keys, Grosvenor School

5 Star Rating

"Every year the pupils of Years 5 & 6 at St. Elizabeth's put on an end-of-school-year show. By far the most successful (and most enjoyable for everybody) have been shows written by Craig Hawes. Every year we think he can't better that year's script. Every year we are proven wrong and 'Porridge' is no exception... it also has the added bonus of the really helpful, easy-to-use Sing It! song learning program AND a DVD with the choreography for the songs demonstrated. Absolutely brilliant! It makes our jobs so much easier."

Alan Shaefer, St. Elizabeth's Primary School, Belper, Derbyshire

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