The Jollies: Synopsis

Cast: 4 male / 4 female
Running time (approximate): 1 hour and 50 minutes not including the interval
Acting edition: Published by Faber

It is shy Billy Jollie’s seventh birthday and his present is a trip to the circus to see the amazing Mr Magico. Billy’s father left the family two years ago and he is accompanied by his mother, Jilly - ‘a sort of mathematical genius’, and his 11 year old sister, Polly.

During the show, Billy is invited to enter the Sacred Cabinet Of Shadan. But something goes wrong and when he returns he has aged 25 years! Jilly doesn’t believe the old Billy is really her son and also enters the Cabinet. She steps out 20 years younger! Mr Magico leaves rather swiftly and furtively, leaving the Jollies to deal with the police.

Polly lies to the police, who become suspicious and visit the Jollies’ home the next day with a social worker. Unable to keep up a charade of a normal family - largely thanks to Billy being sick in the social worker’s handbag - it is decided the children (Polly and Jilly) should go into care. Faced with this prospect, the Jollies manage to outwit the police and go on the run. They take refuge in a garden shed in a large house, protected by a huge dog, Rambo. Apprehended by the housekeeper, Mrs Amplespoon, the girls have to become scullery maids to prevent Mrs Amplespoon from informing the police, whilst Billy is made to work in the garden and sleep in the barn.

Trapped in the house, Billy becomes friends with Rambo and Polly and Jilly stumble across an advert for Mr Magico. They escape, hotly pursued by Rambo who decides to accompany the party.

The Jollies find Mr Magico and confront him about the cabinet, which Mr Magico has returned to the stage magician’s car boot sale where he bought it. Intimidated by Rambo, Mr Magico agrees to take the Jollies to the field where he bought the Cabinet.

Abandoned in the field by Mr Magico, the Jollies are amazed to meet a traveller who admits she mistakenly sold a real magic cabinet (actually advanced technology from the 24th century) to Mr Magico. She explains the only way to restore normality is for Polly to enter the cabinet and to find the correct Jilly and Billy, who are lost in a limbo among every possible age permutation of the pair. Polly enters the cabinet and manages to retrieve the correct Jilly and Billy. Everything is restored to normality and Rambo comes to live with the Jollies.

Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.