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' THE BOX ' Sketch
by
Jimmy James


Eli Woods

The verbal technique of Jimmy James found perfect expression in the lecture on the art of potato chipping, featured in his one Royal Variety Performance in 1953 and exposing the secrets of a champion chipster who had managed to steer clear of occupational "batterer's elbow" and "permanent wink", both demonstrated with imaginary fillet and invisible splutter and quite innocent when explained.
It was, however, in the routine with the shoebox that the individual components were seen to work with the most perfect cohesion, the vague otherworldliness of Woods and Conyers ( also played by Roy Castle ) seen at its most effective. Conyer's bumptious, "Hey, are you putting it around that I'm barmy?" sparked off a chain of misunderstanding focused on the box he nursed protectively under his arm. He had just returned from the unlikely post of Colonial Secretary in Egypt where he had been presented with two man-eating lions.

Funny Way To Be A Hero - John Fisher

Jimmy James and Eli Woods walk on stage discussing their luck (or their lack of luck) at that dayís racing...

Jimmy: Well that were a waste of time. That Ďorse will still be running when they get tomorrowís racing going.
Conyers: (off stage) Oy!
Jimmy: What was that?
Conyers: (entering) Oy! Have you been putting it about that Iím barmy?
Jimmy: Why? Did you want it kept a secret?
Conyers: Now thatís not nice! Someoneís been saying that Iím barmy.
Jimmy: Well donít blame me! (Aside to Eli) Iíll keep him talking, you go and Ďphone the asylum. Ask them whether theyíve done a head count lately and are they missing any.
(Eli doesnít move)
Conyers: I heard that! Youíre the one whoís been saying that Iím barmy.
Jimmy: No Iím not. Why do you think someone wants to call you barmy?
Conyers: Well, somebody is! And thatís not nice. Iím a well travelled man you know.
Jimmy: Really? (Aside to Eli) I wish heíd travel right now!
Conyers: Oh I canít travel now, the last bus has gone.
Jimmy: Youíve got ruddy good hearing any road! Whereíve you been to on your travels?
Conyers: Iíve been all over Africa.
Jimmy: I canít say Iíve ever been there.
(Business Ė they all look wildly around the stage. None of them looking in the same direction.)
Jimmy: Did somebody come on? Like I said, Iíve never been to Africa.
Conyers: Oh, youíd love it. Iíve been to South Africa you know.
Jimmy: Have you now? Nice people the South Africans?
Conyers: Oh yes. Very nice people. They gave me a present.
Jimmy: Really? What did they give you?
Conyers: An elephant.
Jimmy: Did they now? Where do you keep it?
Conyers: In the box!
Jimmy: Ask a daft question. (Aside to Eli) I can see as weíre going to be some time Ė go and get some coffee will you, and make that Ďphone call while youíre about it.
(Eli still doesnít move)
Conyers: Iíve been to Kenya as well.
Jimmy: How interesting. Did you have a good time there?
Conyers: Oh yes. Very nice people the Kenyans. They gave me a present.
Jimmy: You donít say. What did they give you?
Conyers: They gave me some giraffes.
Eli: B-b-black or white?
Jimmy: Oh, youíre still with us are you? (to Conyers) Isnít that nice? He wants to know what colour the giraffes are.
Eli: N-n-no! N-n-not the Giraffes Ė the coffee! Do you want it black or white?
Jimmy: Oh good grief! ĎAvenít you got it yet? Whatever theyíve got! (Aside to audience) I donít like to ask him!. (To Conyers) Where do you keep the giraffes?
Conyers: In the box.
Jimmy: Somehow I thought you were going to say that! You canít be serious! How can you carry an elephant and giraffes around in a cardboard box?
Conyers: I tie it up with string.
Jimmy: It gets worse. Where else have you been?
Conyers: Iíve been to Nyasaland.
Jimmy: Now thereís a novelty.
(Business as before)
Jimmy: I wish you wouldnít keep doing that! I suppose you had a good time in Nyasaland as well?
Conyers: Oh yes. Very nice people the Nyasas.
Jimmy: Iím sure they are. Did they give you a present as well?
Conyers: Oh yes. They gave me a lion.
Jimmy: Really? (Aside to audience) I hardly dare ask him. (To Conyers) I suppose you keep the lion in the box as well?
Conyers: Donít be daft! ĎOw could I get a great big lion in the box?
Eli: Y-y-you could ask the giraffes to shift over a bit.
Jimmy: Thatís right. You could ask the... oh youíre as bad as him!
Conyers: No. You canít keep a lion in the box Ė I keep the lion in a cage.
Jimmy: Now thatís a relief (Aside) I really am afraid to ask him! (To Conyers) Where do you keep the cage?
All: IN THE BOX!!!
 
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