top of page

ACT ONE

... where we meet Harry (both old and young), and young Harry meets Michelle while her father Arthur Posonby disapproves intently. Fortune Teller Rosa tells Harry to take care,
but the love-struck London lad just can't help himself ...

Modern day. The house lights are up. Over the space of a minute, the music of an orchestra builds. At first sporadic, it sounds like instruments being tuned in the pit. Soon it becomes apparent they’re all working to the same discordant tune which at last becomes less discordant and, as the curtains slowly open, reaches a crescendo, then dramatically stops. The lights cut out. The stage is pitch black. Suddenly a spotlight flashes into life, focusing on a solitary older man in his late ‘70s – Harry. He’s standing in the middle of the stage. With little accompaniment, he sings gently, slowly, wistfully...

Song 1: My Part of Town 

2024

The orchestra picks up the pace with a rolling cacophony of music as a screen flashes to life at the back of the stage with this year’s date on it. Quickly, the years begins to roll backwards accompanied by images flashing in quick succession of presidents, pop stars, inventions, riots, wars, fashion, film stars from those times. After a minute of this intense collage of musical mayhem and iconic images, the date hits 1966 and suddenly all the characters in the bar are outside on the streets of Soho, dressed in the fashions of that year ... not yet flower power, but bursts of colour, unusual designs and even some daringly high cuts above the knee. The suits are now wearing suits from 1966, the hipsters are bohemian types, the office girls have their sixties hair do’s, and the football fans are dressed in the red England strip of the World Cup winning team. The stage is now dominated by famous haunts brought together in one place to form a dream-like perfect Soho Street: The Wimpy Bar, The French coffee shop, The Star Café, The Pheonix, Wheeler & Co fish restaurant, Chez Auguste. Old Harry is now young Harry ... an 18-year-old man in his happy prime: street sweeper, flower seller, dreamer, a streetwise cockney, with a grubby shirt, flat cap and no shoes.

1966

Song 2: My Part of Town (1966)

The ensemble go back into their tribes – the suits, the bohemians, the office girls, the football fans – and mill about on the street. In the corner of the stage, the bar has been replaced by a flower stall, and our focus is on a young man with no shoes and a cloth cap, sweeping the Soho streets, smiling and whistling to himself. As he sweeps, he heads over to the flower stall and picks up a bunch.

Song 3: The Flower Seller

HARRY:
What a morning!

The sun’s in the sky, the streets are gleaming, the flowers are blooming. It’s great to be alive in London. 

OFFICE GIRL:
Why are you always so ‘appy ‘arry? It could be raining cats and dogs and you’d be ‘appy. You’d probably adopt one!

HARRY:
What’s not to love? It’s 1966, we just won the World Cup, I’m living on the best streets of the best city in the best country in the world. World beaters! That’s us … and that’s me!

FOOTBALL FAN:
Get in Harry! That’s right mate. Top of the bloody world!

HIPPY:
But living on the streets, man. Sounds heavy. 

HARRY:
These streets are the greatest streets on Earth. World beating streets, these. What kind of drop out are you anyway? Dripping in designer clothes and beads from the Kings Road.

You’re having a laugh!

SUIT:
Well, I pity you, young man. The lottery of life. You’re where you are, and I’m where I am. 

GYPSY ROSA:
He does not need your pity, sir. But I see pity in your soul.

I can cure it for just one shiny sixpence. 

SUIT:
Get away from me you dirty old hag. 

The Suits push Gypsy Rosa away, Harry jumps in to protect her, and a farcical bundle ensues with Harry coming out of the ruck with a big smile on his face and the Suit’s briefcase and umbrella, and the Bohemian’s beads.

Song 4: What a Morning!

With the brouhaha over, young Harry starts picking stems from the flower stall and handing them out to bystanders. The suits, the office girls, the bohemians, the football fans ... and a young lady. She looks radiant in a cool sixties dress as she surveys the flowers next to the stall.

MICHELLE:
What lovely blooms.

HARRY:
Come again?

MICHELLE:
I said, what lovely blooms.

HARRY:
Why thank you ma’am! 

[Harry plays with the flowers and makes Michelle laugh]

Blooms with a view! And what a view. 

[He’s looking at Michelle]
The most beautiful view in all the world. 

MICHELLE: [Puzzled] 

This place?

HARRY:
Er, yes miss. The streets of London. My home. You know, I once heard someone say that there’s no place like home. 

MICHELLE:
Yes - but I’m not sure they were referring to this place.

HARRY:

[taking off his hat and laying it on the street floor]
I also heard someone say that wherever a man lays his hat, that’s his home.

MICHELLE:
Yes, I’ve heard that one too.

HARRY:
Well that makes Soho my home, miss.

MICHELLE:
If you like.

HARRY:
I do like, your ladyship. I do like very much. 

MICHELLE:
So you’re Soho’s little flower seller, are you?

HARRY:
Little? If you like.

MICHELLE:
I do like, er...

HARRY:
Harry ma’am. 

MICHELLE:
Harry the, er, flower seller. Harry with the hat.

HARRY:
I wear many ‘at’s your Dutchesness.

MICHELLE:
And I’ll wager you sell many flowers too.

HARRY:
I do my bit for the flower pots of Britain.

MICHELLE:
Surely you mean the veritable “vase trade” of Britain.

HARRY:
What did I say?

MICHELLE:
Pots.

HARRY:
Nah, you must be hearing things. And I must be seeing things. This view!

MICHELLE:
So how much will it cost me to ascend from perusing and transcend into buying a bunch of your lovely flowers?

HARRY:
Come again, again?

MICHELLE:
These flowers. How much?

HARRY:
Azaleas? 

MICHELLE:
Oh, I thought they were lilies?

HARRY:
Nope, they’re definitely Azaleas. She left them there before she went off for lunch.

MICHELLE:
Oh you are a funny little thing! Positively a hoot!

HARRY:
Who’s an ‘oot?

MICHELLE:
Now stop teasing me and tell me how much you’ll charge little old me for a bunch of these splendiferous little lilies.

HARRY:
Well that’s the thing. You see...

PONSONBY:
Michelle? Michelle?

[Arthur Ponsonby, a large, rotund man with a three-piece suit, top hat, braces and a pocket watch bounds up to the flower stall]

Michelle? What in heavens name are you doing? 

MICHELLE:
Oh Daddy, I was just looking at these magnificent flowers while you finished up your business.

PONSONBY:
Flowers? You don’t need flowers. God’s green earth provides us with flowers for free. Now stop all this messing around and let’s get home. 

HARRY:
She is ‘ome – my ‘ome.

PONSONBY:
There’s no need to be hanging around with people like this. I didn’t work all the hours the good Lord sent for a quarter of a century, becoming the premier Landlord of the slums of London for you to spend your time with a ... flower seller. 

MICHELLE:
But...

PONSONBY:
Not but’s. There’s no but’s, not if’s, no maybe’s. This is not our part of town. These are not our kind of people. This is not your Park Lane perfumerie. It’s, it’s ... So ... ho.

MICHELLE:
Oh no.

PONSONBY:
Oh so. And this boy with the bunches ... he’s not one of us.

MICHELLE:
Yes, I think I see what you mean. 

PONSONBY:
Remember your station. Remember your class. Remember what Nanny taught you when you were bouncing on the knee...

MICHELLE and PONSONBY:
Never give the time of day to someone who may steal your watch. 

PONSONBY:
Quite right. Now…

HARRY:
What a load of old cobblers. Don’t listen to that old rubbish. You’re my guest. You’re in my part of town. You’re in ‘arry’s Town.

MICHELLE:
Harrginay? Isn’t that up near Duckett’s Green? 

HARRY:
No, no, no! ‘arry’s Town!

Song 5: Harry's Town 

PONSONBY:
[Horrified at what’s unfolding under his nose]
Now that is enough of that! There’ll be no fast beating hearts, there’ll be no apples, and no eyes, there’ll be no ...

[Gypsy Rosa shuffles up to Ponsonby while he’s in full swing]

Agggh! 

[He recoils]

What do you want?

GYPSY ROSA:
[In a thick Eastern European accent]
A penny for your palm sir. Let me read those creases

and tell you your future.

PONSONBY:
I won’t give you a penny, but I’ll give you a pounding if you don’t leave me and my daughter alone … you hag!

GYPSY ROSA:
Oh, she is very beautiful lady, sir. Let me read your tea leaves, my princess.

PONSONBY:
No leaves ... we’re leaving. Michelle come on!

[He marches off stage, expecting her to follow … but she stays]

MICHELLE:
I’m coming father … coming!

GYPSY ROSA:

[Her Eastern European accent now East London]
He’s a bit of work ‘aint he.

MICHELLE:
I’ll have you know he’s one of London’s most upstanding, kind and welcoming philantrhopists.

HARRY:
Yeah Rosa, give it a rest! 

Ignore her, Michelle. Let me show you around this part of town.

MICHELLE:
I really don’t know Harry. I’ve got French class at 11, and father’s warned me there’s two sides to places like this.
The good, the bad, the ...

HARRY:
Well, on that, we agree. Like anywhere, there’s good, there’s bad, there‘s right, there‘s wrong. But let me tell you all about it in this little song...

Song 6: Two Sides Of Soho

[Harry’s now bent double, out of breath, but laughing, hand in hand with Michelle]

MICHELLE:
Crikey Harry! This really is another world!

HARRY:
There’s two sides to every story, and two sides to every street. And I can show you more!

ROSA:
I’ll bet you can!

MICHELLE:
What on Earth do you mean?

HARRY:
Yeah – what you going on about Rosa?

[Michelle, flustered, embarassed, unsure, heads off the stage]

MICHELLE:
I think I’d best be off ... father ... coming father!

HARRY:
Rosa. What did you do that for? I was...

GYPSY ROSA:
I know what you was doing!

HARRY:
No, no – it wasn’t like that. It wasn’t like that at all.

GYPSY ROSA:
Oh yeah. A leopard doesn’t change his stripes.

HARRY:
I think I’m in love.

GYPSY ROSA: 
[in hysterics]
Love?! Love?! I know what you’d love to do with her. Keep dreaming Harry! 

HARRY:
Oh shut up Rosa.

 

 

GYPSY ROSA:
If you’re in love, then I’m Brigit Bardot. 

HARRY:
Go on then – let’s do the cards. Let the cards tell you.

[He pulls out a shilling and gives it to her]

GYPSY ROSA:
Very well 

[She sets out a table and two chairs by the flower stall]

GYPSY ROSA: 

[now back in her thick eastern European accent]
Sit down, sit down dear heart. The cards are ready. Let us begin.

[Rosa lays out the cards on the rickety old table, turning one after the other, moving them about, on top of some under others, in a ritual only she knows. Harry looks on, beaming smile across his face. But Rosa hesitates]

HARRY:
Well come on Rosa – what’s it say? 

GYPSY ROSA:
It doesn’t matter Harry – it’s just a game. We leave it alone today.

HARRY:
Now come on – I’ve paid my shilling. I want my reading.

GYPSY ROSA:
No Harry.

HARRY:
Come on Rosa!

GYPSY ROSA:

[hesitant, sullen]
It’s unclear. Happiness is in abundance, there’s no doubting this. But...

HARRY:

[still beaming, light hearted]
What?

GYPSY ROSA:
There is a sadness. An emptiness. A darkness. 

HARRY:
You’ve got somebody else’s cards!

GYPSY ROSA:
No Harry, they’re your cards.

HARRY:

[shrugging it off]
Well, it’s only a bit of fun. Your destiny’s there to be written. Your future ain’t defined by a pack of black jacks.

GYPSY ROSA:
I hope you’re right Harry.

HARRY:

[winking]
I’m always right Rosa! 

[Harry stands up and leaves the table, blowing Rosa a kiss on his way out]

GYPSY ROSA:
Harry.

[He stops and turns back to face her]

Don’t turn left.

HARRY:

[puzzlement soon being replaced by that familiar smile]
I’m always right Rosa. Always right.

[Rosa exits and Harry heads back to the flower stall and starts singing again]

HARRY:
Who will buy my lovely flowers? I’ve been selling them for hours and ...

THE FLOWER SELLER:
Oi!

[It transpires that Harry isn’t a flower seller at all. In fact, he’s been pocketing the money while the real flower seller is at lunch. Harry scarpers, running around the stage as the flower seller chases after him and the ensemble sing and wave Harry goodbye]

Depositphotos_62595541_XL_edited.jpg
Song 7: Arrivederci
bottom of page