Magic the Musical by BB Cooper & Nigel Osner
Theodosius, a tawny owl and a distinguished lawyer
Percival, an unimpressive looking pigeon
Tristan, a lonely Prince
The Black Talon, the leader of a gang of ravens
Madame Minette, an elegant French cat
Dr Bolgin, the Prince's unusual tutor
The witch, who lives in the forest
Other characters include goblins, soldiers and ravens
If necessary they can all be played by two actors
SCENE 1: A belfry one November evening
It is twilight
Through a huge open window we see the setting sun
A Sign in the Window reads 'Theodosius, Tawny-at law'
Although it is still light by the window, elsewhere the belfry is full of shadows
And seems to be empty
Then a flapping sound is heard
And a pigeon flies in and lands clumsily
He looks about nervously.
Perc Anyone about? I say, anyone about? ——- oooh! He has caught sight of a
large pair of round eyes glinting in the shadows. Nothing else can be seen. Y-y-you aren't a
g-ghost are you?
Theo No, of course I'm not. State your business. I have to tell you that you don't give a very
favourable impression at the moment.
Perc Ah well sir, that's the story of my life. One of life's losers, that's what I am.
Theo Yes, I can well believe that. Theodosius comes out of the shadows. Percival is visibly
Perc Sir, would I be right in thinking that you are Theodosius, the celebrated legal bird
Theo To a certain extent, yes.
Perc Ah, then I have a message for you. You should know that I live in one of the smaller
courtyards of the royal palace. It's situated just near the kitchen as a matter of fact and there I
eke out a miserable——-
Theo Please just keep to the point, otherwise we'll be here all night. Perc O all right.
Let me at least introduce myself.
Theo If you must.
Perc My name is Percival.
Theo That seems a very unlikely sort of name for a pigeon - especially for a
pigeon of your description.
Perc Now that, if I may say so sir, shows just how perceptive you are. It is a very unlikely
name for a pigeon of my description. But when it came to names, my mother, bless her soul, was
something of a——-
Theo The message Percival, if you would be so good.
Perc Well sir, I was wandering through the courtyard this morning when suddenly I was grabbed
from behind. I don't mind telling you that it gave me a very nasty turn, a very nasty turn indeed.
Theo Yes, do get on with it.
Perc And what made matters worse was that it was very soon clear to me that I had been
grabbed by a cat. Not that I could see the cat, because I was immediately dragged into
a dark cellar, but I could feel those claws digging into my feathers. Do you know, I can still feel
Theo I dare say you can. Do not forget that cats are not the only creatures with
Perc Ah, well, when you put it that way sir—- In short the Prince's cat has sent for you.
Theo Indeed. Well, I mustn't keep you.
Perc Oh, I was rather hoping you would explain what all this was about.
Theo Even if I knew, I would never betray the confidence of a client. I should now be greatly
obliged if you would leave—-
Perc If you're sure there's nothing else? Theo —-at once.
With a last forlorn look at Theodosius, Percival shuffles over to the window. As he leaves, he
manages to knock off the 'Theodosius, Tawny-at-law' sign and get entangled in some ivy.
Theodosius sighs and then, when he is sure that Percival has flown off, follows him out into the
last moments of a fiery red sunset.
SCENE 2: The Prince's sitting room later that evening
This is a plush looking room, full of velvet chairs, expensive rugs etc.
A cat is asleep, apparently, in front of the fire
In one corner is a large stuffed owl, which bears a curious resemblance to Theodosius
Prince Tristan is reading
He is bored and in a bad mood
He throws down the book
Tris I'm sick of reading about how to become a better Prince. I want to enjoy
myself. Ever since Mother and Father have been away, I've been so bored ruling the
kingdom. And it will be months before they get back from their quest. It's not fair. to Madame
Minette, who looks at him impassively. As he speaks, he strokes her. I know, you think I'm a
spoiled brat. But you don't understand what it's like being left in charge. Now I have to
tell everyone what to do, no-one likes me any more. So why shouldn't I be rude to them! -
- Mind you, I'm always polite to you Madame Minette, though I'm not sure you like me either.
However, I like you. Especially because you don't keep saying stupid things to me. But I wish you
could talk. I'd love to know what you think of my new tutor. Madame Minette hisses. So you find
him odd too do you.? I'll tell you something, though. I do find him rather interesting. It's just
that I find him a bit startling. Madame Minette stiffens. What is it?
Dr Bolgin appears as if from nowhere. He is wearing a black robe, which has a pattern
of stars and moons, and a tall pointed hat. He has large pointed ears.
Bolgin So you find me startling your Highness.
Tris I do wish you wouldn't creep in like that, Dr Bolgin. I think you're the most furtive
person I know.
Bolgin Oh, how very kind of you to say so! Be furtive, be foul and be fickle and
you'll never go right."
Tris I've never heard that before.
Bolgin I can see you've got a lot to learn.——What book have you got there?
Tris It's all about how one royal family ruled the same kingdom for five hundred years. It's
called 'How to rule in a straight line'.
Bolgin And why are you reading it your Highness?
Tris Because I'm still learning how to rule and I need to get very good at it so my father
will be really proud of me.
Bolgin 'Good'! What a frightening word. Never use it again in front of me. Tris Don't you
want me to be good?
Bolgin Certainly not! I want you to be bad. You already know how to be good.
Bolgin goes across to the Prince, takes hold of the book and cuts it in half with some scissors.
Tris You've completely ruined it.
Bolgin Exactly! If you're going to do something, make a bad job of it. Tris Don't you
mean, make a good job of it?
Bolgin Of course I don't. Badness me, I can see it's high time you had your ideas shaken up a
bit, your Highness. It's time you indulged in a little light wickedness.
Tris But surely that's wrong?
Bolgin Naturally it's wrong. That's why I'm suggesting it. You should try a few
. Tris Spells! You mean magic? Bolgin Absolutely.
Tris Oh really, you don't expect me to believe in magic do you.
Bolgin Oh, your Highness, how could you say such a thing! Not believe in magic indeed.
What a remark. I'll pretend I didn't hear it. Magic is the thing I desire most in the
You cast a little spell. You say a little charm. Such a very tiny curse,
Nothing that you can't reverse. You make an evil smell.
You cause a bit of harm.
You'll have a most enchanting time, Now is that such a crime?
Make something disappear. Nothing too big.
Turn that stuffed owl there Into a pig
Turn a jug of cream Sour overnight
Just enough to make you dream And whet your appetite!
Bolgin rings and a footman comes in. Bolgin makes him do a dance.
Bolgin Just enough to make you dream
And whet your appetite!
The footman leaves at the end of the song. Tristan trips him up.
Tristan That was fun. Not bad at all!
Bolgin No it isn't, but don't worry, we can do a lot worse than that.
Tris That isn't exactly what I meant.
Bolgin Isn't it? Well it should have been. You know, dear boy, you don't think as clearly as you
might. That would explain why you let that witch remain in Ravenswood forest.
Tris Which witch?
Bolgin Which witch? Why surely you've heard of the witch. Do you mean to say that she
lives in your forest without your permission? She must be removed.
Tris But why?
Bolgin You just can't have witches setting up all over the place without permission. It floods
the market. And besides, your father isn't very happy about this witch.
Tris You've heard from my father! And he isn't happy? In that case I'll do
something about her. I will not have witches setting up in our forest without permission. I don't
want my father thinking I'm completely useless.
Bolgin Exactly, your Highness.
Tris Mm—- what shall I do exactly? Bolgin Arrest her then thow her into a cell.
Tris That's a brilliant idea. That will make my father really proud of me.
The Prince runs out of the room.
Bolgin I've hatched a little plot.
I've tried a little ploy. And I know I really can
Carry out my cunning plan. It doesn't take a lot
To trick a lonely boy.
He's rather wet behind the ears. I'm almost shedding tears!
Bolgin starts to leave himself but as he passes the stuffed owl, he looks as though he is
going to do something nasty to it. Then he changes his mind and exits. The stuffed owl stretches
its wings and speaks. It is Theodosius.
Theo I didn't care for the sound of any of that.
Min That odious little clown. Now perhaps you understand why I sent for you so urgently and
asked you to adopt a disguise. It was necessary for you to see and hear for yourself what is going
Theo Forgive me madam, but I do not understand how my legal knowledge, severely
limited as it is, can possibly be of assistance to you.
Min I wish to warn the Prince that his tutor is down to no good. Theo. 'up' to no good,
I think. But that is quite out of the question.
Min Oh you lawyers, you always say no to everything.
Theo Madam, you know the rules. We are only permitted to speak to human beings we
love when we can help in no other way.
Min Naturally I know. But there must be some exceptions.
Theo Alas no. The Prince does need our help, but we must not speak to him. We will warn the
witch. Perhaps, as she's a good witch, she may find a way to teach the Prince a lesson which will
bring him to his senses.
Min But there is still Dr Bolgin. He is a goblin.
Theo You took the very words out of my beak. Indeed. If you reassemble the
letters in Bolgin, they spell goblin. I would suggest that the King has no idea of Dr Bolgin's
existence. I suspect Dr Bolgin forged the King's handwriting on his leter of appointment.
Min I am sure of it.
Theodosius starts to walk over to a window
Theo Well, whatever the position, we must be careful. It will not do
to underestimate Dr Bolgin. He is a most remarkable goblin.
Theodosius pounces through a gap in the curtains and drags out Percival
Perc Please sir, please Madam, I meant no harm. Believe me, sir. It's just that I have a very
curious nature, sir. My mother always warned me—-
Theo You should have listened to your mother's advice!
Madame Minette prowls across to Percival
Perc Oh p-please sir, p-please your owlship, don't let her have me. Oh I can feel those claws
sir. The horror of those claws, sir, is more than any bird should have to bear.
Min Why were you spying on us?
Perc Sp-spying! What a dreadful idea! Oh, I feel faint. I keep getting these visions of
Theo Pull yourself together. Simply tell us the truth, quickly, and nothing will
happen to you.
Perc It was only my curiosity, your Honour. My mother used to say to me,
'Percival, one day your curiosity will be the death of you.' Little did she know how
right she was. How true that old saying is sir—- 'Curiosity killed the pigeon.'
Theo No, no. That isn't the saying at all.
Perc Forgive me. I'm only an ignorant—-
Theo Yes, I have heard all that before. Now, the only reasons you were lurking
behind that curtain were ill breeding and an impertinent curiosity?
Perc That's it sir. And may I say how beautifully you put it sir. It's a marvellous thing a
good education. It's one of my deepest regrets, as you might well imagine—— Madame
Minette rests her paw lightly on his beak—- Eek!
Min Do pigeons have nine lives?
Min I thought not. Perhaps then, little idiot, you will tell us in under nine words how you
knew Theodosius was here.
Perc Saw him come. Followed him in. Min How much did you hear.
Min Seven words. I didn't think he could.
Theo I trust that you will keep silent about what you heard. No, I think in
your case that is not a sensible assumption.
Min Little widgeon—-
Theo 'Pigeon", madam.
Min Well, whatever it is, it had better not repeat a word of this to anyone. Does it
Perc Yes it does.
Min I think it understands.
Theo Quite. Very well Percival, please leave us. Perc At once!.
In his effort to get out, Percival knocks over various items of furniture etc. and then gets
entangled in the curtains. With help from Theodosius he frees himself and leaves.
Min If I had been here alone, I would not have been so generous.
Theo If I may be permitted to say so, perhaps you were a little over-enthusiastic. Still may
be your miaow is worse than your bite. And now madam, I must leave you. It is vital that I reach
the witch before Prince Tristan.
Theodosius bows and leaves.