SCENE 1: The Bloodstain Inn, Night
Blackout. Red spotlights sweep the stage and a siren blares in the background. We hear a voice over the sirens.
Voice: This morning, the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German Government a final note stating that unless we heard that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland by eleven o’clock, a state of war would exist between us. I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently, this country is at war with Germany. I know that good shall prevail.
A man rushes though the auditorium and runs in circles on the stage. He then runs into a nearby inn: The Bloodstain Inn.
Lights up. The curtains open and we see many people assembled in thirties attire. The man, Tom, walks over to the bar and taps on the bar.
A small woman, Charlotte Cooper, pops up from behind the bar.
Charlotte: What’re you doing here, Tom? It’s bloody dangerous.
Tom: What do you mean?
Charlotte: Haven’t you heard the wireless? Haven’t you read the papers? We’re at war!
Some of the customers look up.
Tom: Alright, alright! Keep your voice down.
Charlotte: What’re you doing here in Papplewick?
Tom: Just passing through.
Charlotte (smiling) Just passing through, huh? I think you can be a bit more specific than that.
Tom: I’m seeing my wife. I’m on my way to Portsmouth Docks.
Charlotte: Your wife lives abroad?
Tom (in hushed tones): She’s German.
Charlotte: (shouting in shock) She’s German? Your wife is German?!
Other people sat in the Inn begin to turn and look at Tom.
Tom: Shh! Have you got a room for tonight?
Charlotte opens a small book and looks in it.
Charlotte: You’re in luck. We’ve got one room left.
She pulls some keys from under the bar and hands them to Tom.
Charlotte: Up the stairs, first on the right.
Tom goes off stage. Charlotte talks to herself.
Charlotte: Sweet dreams.
SCENE 2: The Town Square, Day
Voice: On Sunday 3rd September 1939, Mr Thomas King died at the Bloodstain Inn. It is believed that he was murdered, and a police investigation is underway.
People begin to filter onto the stage as he speaks to mourn the death. Breaking the silence, we hear:
Black: Alright, alright, out the way. Out the way!
The crowd part as a group of policemen barge through. At the front, Chief Constable George Black.
Black: Seal off the area! I’m going to get a detective on the scene. I want everyone known to be there in for questioning.
Policeman 1: Yes sir!
Black walks over to the nearest telephone box and dials a number.
Black: Rufus? Yes, it’s me, Black. Get over here. I want you here as soon as possible. Alright, goodbye,
He puts the phone down. An old woman walks over to him.
Grace: Mr Black, sir? I’m Grace King, mother of Thomas.
Black shakes her hand.
Black: I’m sorry for your loss, Mrs King. Jones. Jones! Get your skinny backside over here.
A small man scampers over.
Jones: Sir, yes sir!
Black: This is Mrs King, Thomas’s mother. Could you take her down to the station, please?
Jones: Yes sir. With me, please, madam.
Jones escorts her off. Two men enter and walk over to Black.
Black: Rufus! Oh, and Blakely too! How lucky I am.
They all shake hands.
Black: Follow me, please, Gentlemen.
Rufus Redbrick and Andrew Blakely follow Black offstage.
SCENE 3: The Bloodstain Inn, Day
Policemen swarm the stage. Black, Redbrick and Blakely walk down the centre of the stage.
Black: This is a brief summary of the case. Last night, at about 11pm, Thomas King was murdered. King was 35 and lived up in Edinburgh. He was looking for a place to stay on his way to Portsmouth Docks.
Blakely is taking notes. Redbrick is pacing the stage.
Redbrick: How was he killed?
Black: His nose was in fragments when we found him. We suspect he was hit, front on, with some force.
Redbrick: Who found him?
Black: The bar woman, Charlotte Cooper. She went to go and give him breakfast before he set off to Portsmouth.
Blakely: Is Cooper –
Black: Cooper’s in custody. Along with anyone else known to be at the scene of the crime.
Redbrick: Killed in his room, am I correct?
Redbrick: Lead the way, Chief.
SCENE 4: Tom King’s Room, Day
A bed is on stage alongside Tom’s suitcase, the contents of which are strewn across the floor. The three enter. Redbrick begins searching.
Redbrick: I always check the window first. To see if we need a larger search.
He points offstage.
Redbrick: The window can’t be opened. There’s no way anyone could’ve got in that way.
Blakely: So the murderer must have come in through the door?
Redbrick: Not necessarily.
He walks almost offstage. He points at the door.
Redbrick: The lock to the door was smashed, probably with the murder weapon. See how the shards stick inwards?
Black and Blakely nod.
Blakely: So the murderer must have hit the lock from that side of the door.
Redbrick: Exactly. What’s this?
Redbrick picks up a scrap of paper. Policeman 1 enters.
Policeman 1: The witnesses have been interrogated. All the alibis check out. Everyone was downstairs. Except…
Black: Except who?
Policeman 1: I think you’d better come with me, sir.
He leads them offstage. Lights down.
SCENE 5: The Papplewick Police Station, Day
Black and Blakely sit behind a desk in an interrogation room. Redbrick paces the front of the stage.
Black: Are you alright, Rufus?
Redbrick: Fine. Could you wait outside while we do the questioning, sir?
Black: Of course. I’ve got files to fill in.
Black leaves the stage. Policeman 1 and Jones escort Andrew Willow in.
Willow: (to Blakely) Hello, Michael.
Blakely: Hello, Mike.
Willow: How long has it been?
Blakely: I don’t know…nine, ten years, perhaps?
Willow: Still going strong, I see. You always were a tough string bean!
Redbrick is rather confused.
Redbrick: Sorry to interrupt, but what’s going on? You’re a murder suspect.
Blakely: Bah! Old Andy here, a murder suspect!? That’s as likely as old Hitler surrendering and then apologising to us for the trouble.
The two share a laugh.
Redbrick: And you know Mr Willow how?
Willow: I went to school with old Mike. He’s a spiffing chap.
Redbrick: Right. Please sit, Mr Willow. We have some questions for you.
Willow sits. Redbrick is still pacing the stage. As the next conversation goes on, Blakely types in the background.
Redbrick: Could you tell me where you were last night?
Willow: (coolly) I was in my room, Detective. At the Bloodstain Inn.
Redbrick: Okay. What were you doing at the time of approximately eleven o’clock?
Willow: I was writing my book, Detective. You know, I write a weekly column for the local paper up in Edinburgh. I was just –
Redbrick: (cutting him off) And the name of this book, Mr Willow?
Willow: The title is not definite, Detective.
Redbrick: Fair enough. What’s this book about?
Willow: (confidently) It’s about life in the barracks, Detective. I’ve been in the army for six years, you know.
Redbrick: Thank you, Mr Willow. And, I must ask whether you saw any odd or suspicious activity last night?
Willow: No…Oh, hang on,
He looks as though he is thinking hard.
Willow: Yes, there was something…
Redbrick: Go on,
Willow: A woman was moving about the landing. I saw her through my door. I’m sure she had a long, heavy object.
Redbrick: And do you know who this woman was?
Willow: No clue.
Redbrick: Thank you, Mr Willow. No more questions.
Willow leaves. Lights down.
SCENE 6: The Papplewick Police Station, Day
Redbrick pulls out the scrap of paper he found at the crime scene and shows it to Blakely.
Redbrick: Look at this.
Blakely: I recognise this. This was my school photo on the last day of secondary school. My whole year is there.
Redbrick: Found this in King’s room. It’s torn. Someone’s head is missing. Is this linked?
Blakely: No clue. Look. There’s me. Oh, and there’s Mike.
Redbrick: This is evidence. Perhaps we had better go and pay your old school a visit.
Blakely: Yes, sir. Shall I call in the second suspect?
Redbrick: Yes, do.
Blakely: (shouting offstage) Jones, Bring her in!
Jones and Policeman 1 drag Eva Stenberg in. She kicks and struggles.
Eva: (shouting) Let me go! I said let me go, you fools!
Redbrick: Please calm down, Miss Stenberg. We only want to ask you some questions.
Eva: Ask me what you want, Detective. I will not cooperate.
Redbrick: Sit her down.
Eva is forced onto the chair. Jones and Policeman 1 step backwards.
Redbrick: Start typing, please Mike.
The typewriter pings as the next conversation goes on.
Redbrick: Could you tell me where you were yesterday night at the scene of the crime?
Eva: No comment.
Redbrick: Not very helpful, Miss Stenberg. What were you doing at the time of approximately eleven o’clock?
Eva: No comment.
Redbrick: This could be classed as treason if you do not cooperate, Miss Stenberg.
Eva: Because I’m German? Because you think I’m like the Nazis? Because you think I agree with their views? I do not. But that does not make me your ally, Detective.
Black enters. Jones and Policeman 1 stand to attention.
Black: What’s all this commotion? What’s going on?
Redbrick: Nothing, sir. Miss Stenberg is getting a little…unsettled.
Black: Just as we thought. Come in, Andrew.
Andrew Willow walks through the auditorium with a smirk on his face. Two army officers flank him.
Willow: Miss Stenberg is under arrest.
Eva: What?! You can’t be serious?
Willow: I’m afraid so, Miss Stenberg. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning.
Eva: You’re insane. I’m innocent!
Willow waves his hand and he is passed a mallet by Army Officer 1.
Willow: It seems you aren’t quite as clever as your friends back in Germany, Miss Stenberg. This was found in your room, I saw you carrying it around, and this would be an ideal murder weapon.
Eva: I’m not on their side, you fool. I’m not guilty!
Willow: Your Führer cannot help you now. Take her away.
The two officers seize Eva and drag her offstage.
Black: Thank you Andrew. The case is closed. You are all dismissed.
Black, Jones and Policeman 1 leave the stage.
Blakely: Well done, Andy. That was a good job.
Willow: Thank you, Mike. You and Rufus may go.
Blakely does as he is told but Redbrick hangs around for a moment before leaving.
Willow makes sure that they’ve all gone before he walks over to the police phone.
Willow: Herr Hoffman? It’s me. Yes, me Commander Willow. I’ll be in Berlin by tomorrow evening. Inform the rest of High Command that I got out of the little predicament we discussed. Tell the Führer all is going to plan. Yes, indeed. Miss Stenberg? I call it collateral damage. Yes, alright. Hail Hitler.
SCENE 7: The Papplewick Academy, Day
Redbrick and Blakely walk down the aisle suspiciously.
Blakely: What are we doing here, sir? Chief Black’s called of the investigation.
Redbrick: I’m not buying it. And I don’t like it. Eva had no motives for killing King. Something else is going on here.
Blakely: That still doesn’t explain why we’re at my old school, sir.
Redbrick: You’ll see.
They reach a door and Redbrick knocks on it twice.
Mrs Campbell: Hang on a minute, dears.
The door opens. A woman dressed in tartan looks at them down her glasses: this is Linda Campbell.
Mrs Campbell: I do apologise but parents have to make a formal meeting before you may enter the school.
She suddenly sees Blakely.
Mrs Campbell: Michael Blakely? Is that you? How you’ve grown!
Blakely: Thank you, Mrs Campbell.
Mrs Campbell: What may I do for you?
Redbrick raises his officer’s badge and Blakely did the same.
Blakely: We need to take a look around, Mrs Campbell.
Redbrick: Yes, may you let us in?
Mrs Campbell: Rufus Redbrick? One of Scotland Yard’s best? I read it in the papers. You’ve made friends in high places, Blakely!
Blakely: Yes, Mrs Campbell.
They pass through the door and exit the stage.
SCENE 8: Mrs Campbell’s Office-Day
Blakely and Redbrick are sat a desk. Mrs Campbell enters with a tray.
Mrs Campbell: Tea, boys?
Blakely: Yes, please, Mrs Campbell.
She pours them both a cup of tea.
Mrs Campbell: Ginger biscuit?
Redbrick: Yes, please, Mrs Campbell.
Mrs Campbell gives them a biscuit each.
Mrs Campbell: Did you hear about Thomas King, Blakely? It was horrible.
Blakely: Yes, I did, Mrs Campbell. I agree.
There is a silence that is broken by the slurp of tea from Mrs Campbell.
Redbrick: That’s why we’re here. Were you teaching here when Thomas and Mike were at school?
Mrs Campbell: Why, yes, Detective. I was their form tutor and English teacher, wasn’t I, Blakely?
Blakely: Yes, you were, Mrs Campbell. And a marvellous teacher you were too.
Mrs Campbell: Why, thank you, Blakely.
Redbrick: And may I ask if you have any copies of this?
He slides the school photograph across the table. Mrs Campbell puts her glasses on and looks at it.
Mrs Campbell: Ah, yes! This is the class of 1918. There you are, Blakely, all wee and sweet.
Blakely: (blushing) Thank you, Mrs Campbell.
Redbrick: And could you point out Andrew Willow and Thomas King, Mrs Campbell?
She runs her finger along the photograph.
Mrs Campbell: This is Willow, on the front row there. He was Head Boy, you know, and he was very popular.
Redbrick: And King?
She looks and the photograph and frowned.
Mrs Campbell: I can’t see him, Detective. Can you, Blakely?
Blakely: No, Mrs Campbell.
She puts her hand into a draw under her desk and pulls out a framed photograph.
Mrs Campbell: This is my copy. Thomas is here, see.
She points at the photo and then compares it to Redbrick’s one.
Mrs Campbell: That’s why, Detective. His face was where that tear is.
Then he has an idea.
Redbrick: Well, thank you, Mrs Campbell, but I and Michael must be off.
Mrs Campbell: Delighted to help, boys. Do come again soon.
SCENE 9: The Papplewick Police Station, Day
Redbrick and Blakely sit in the interrogation room. Enter Jones. He holds a bag.
Jones: I’ve got everything from the crime scene, Detective.
Redbrick: And was there anything that could help us?
Jones: Didn’t Chief Constable Black call off the investigation? Commander Willow apprehended the culprit.
Redbrick: I don’t care what Black said and I don’t care what Willow did. Nothing in this investigation adds up. Nothing points to Eva and there is no evidence stating that she should’ve been arrested. Nothing adds up.
Blakely: What have you got?
Jones pulls out a number of items from the bag including a pair of black gloves.
Redbrick: This doesn’t help us. There’s useful here.
He rummages through the items.
Jones: Wait Detective, you need gloves on.
Redbrick pauses. There is silence.
Redbrick: What did you say?
Jones: I said you need gloves on, Detective. We can’t have your fingerprints all over the evidence.
Redbrick: You’re brilliant, Jones. You’re absolutely brilliant!
Both Blakely and Jones are incredibly confused.
Blakely: I’m sorry, sir, but I’m not following you.
Redbrick: Right, listen. What did the murderer want?
Blakely: To kill King.
Redbrick: Exactly. But what didn’t they want?
Blakely: To be arrested? To be caught?
Redbrick: Precisely! If I wanted to kill you and get away with it, I’d need to make sure my fingerprints were no where to be found. How would I do that?
Blakely: (catching on) You’d where gloves!
Redbrick: Now look at this.
He holds up the two black gloves.
Blakely: They must have belonged to King’s wife!
Redbrick: And look, the stitching is frayed. This means…
Jones: It was worn by a bigger hand?
Redbrick: So the murderer must have put on these gloves so they weren’t caught when they wrecked King’s room. So, Jones, get me a pair of gloves identical to these and meet me in Eva Stenberg’s cell in twenty minutes.
They depart. Blackout.
SCENE 10: Eva Stenberg’s Cell, Day
Eva sits alone on her bed. She is crying. Redbrick and Blakely enter.
Redbrick: Miss Stenberg, we’d like a word.
Eva: Go away.
Redbrick: It seems we may have been a little hasty in your apprehension, Miss Stenberg. In short, we may be able to prove your innocence.
Eva: Oh, so you believe me now?
Redbrick: I never thought you were guilty, Miss Stenberg.
Jones: Gloves, for you, sir. Exact size as those found at the crime scene.
He hands them to Redbrick and then exits.
Redbrick: Could you try these on, Miss Stenberg?
She takes them from him, suspiciously.
Eva: You’re telling me that my freedom rests on a pair of gloves?
Redbrick: Erm, yes. I suppose so.
She tries them on. They fit perfectly.
Eva: They fit. Now tell me how this proves my innocence.
SCENE 11: Black’s Office, Day
Black sits at his desk, reading reports. Enter Jones. He is holding a clear plastic bag.
Black: (looking up) May I help you, Jones?
Jones: Sir, I know that you called off the investigation into the murder of Thomas King but there’s something I think you are going to want to see.
He places the plastic bag on the desk and steps back. Black opens the bag and pulls out the contents: a small, silver device.
Black: Why, I do believe this is…
Jones: A German 38014 Tracking Device. Used only by –
Black: The Nazis.
Black: I imagine that Blakely could hack into this but still. Where did you find this, Jones?
Jones: Commander Willow asked me to take his bag to his cab and it sort of… slipped open…
Black: You opened his bag?
Jones: Yes, but that’s not important at the minute. The point is; I found this wrapped in a scarf.
Black suddenly realises what this means but tries not to believe it.
Black: Impossible! That would mean…
Enter Redbrick, Blakely and Eva.
Redbrick: Willow killed King! He’s the only other person who could’ve done it.
Black: That’s not everything. Jones found this in his bag.
He holds up the tracking device and Redbrick takes it and slips it into his pocket.
Blakely: Isn’t that a German 38014 Tracking Device? The Nazis are the only ones with that level of technology. That means Willow is working for the Nazis.
Willow: (offstage) You’re all correct.
Enter Willow and half a dozen army officers. Four of them are armed.
Willow: Rufus Redbrick, you’re coming with me. And nobody else move!
Policeman 1 enters oblivious to what’s going on. Willow draws a pistol and points it at him. The other soldiers raise their own guns.
Willow: Get back! Get back and no blood needs to be spilt.
Policeman one shuffles into the group.
Willow: Everyone, hands where I can see them. On your heads.
No one moves.
They all obey.
Willow: (gesturing with his gun) Redbrick, over here.
Redbrick shuffles over to Willow. Army Officer 1 and Army Officer 2 seize him and Willow points his gun at Redbrick’s head.
Blakely: You’re not going to get away with this.
Willow: One false move and there’s going to be a rather large hole in the detective’s head.
Blakely backs off.
Willow: Good. Now, Detective Redbrick is going to come with me and you’re going to stay here. If I even get wind that you’re following us, the detective will die. In fact, you two!
He points at Army Officers 3 and 4.
Willow: You two stay here. If they try anything, you shoot them. Understand?
Willow: Good. Let’s go.
He leads Army Officers 1, 2, 5 and 6 off along with Redbrick.
Army Officer 3: Move!
They all exit.
SCENE 12: Willow’s Secret Base, Dusk
There is a single chair centre stage. Redbrick is tied to it. Army Officer 5 stands stage left and Army Officer 6 stands stage right. They both hold guns. Army Officer 1 and Army Officer 2 enter and stand at the back of the stage. They are unarmed. Enter Willow.
Redbrick: Why am I here, Willow?
Willow: You are here for one reason and one reason only. You have a small, weak, feeble mind. Your fellow officers do also. But, I am willing to withdraw that statement if you tell me why I murdered Thomas King.
He prowls around the chair.
Redbrick: From the evidence I have, these are my thoughts: you had some vendetta with King when you were at school. That’s why the photo was ripped.
Willow: Go on.
Redbrick: You smashed the lock in and then killed him with that mallet while he was sleeping but realised that you had to cover your tracks so you took King’s wife’s gloves and put them on. But those gloves were made for small hands, not large ones like yours. That’s why the stitching was frayed: because your hands were too big.
He pauses but when Willow says nothing, continues.
Redbrick: You then took the mallet and planted it in Eva Stenberg’s room when she went to the toilet. She then found it and crept around, looking for its owner, thinking it had been misplaced. Then, she saw King dead and knew that, when someone found the mallet, we would assume it was her so she hid it in her room. That’s where you pretended to find it.
Willow: Very good.
Redbrick: But that doesn’t explain why you killed King in the first place and then decided to work for the Germans.
Willow: I killed King because he was an arrogant swine. I loved his wife when we were at school but she did not feel the same way toward me. She loved King. But, her father was German. When the war was imminent, she was taken to Germany. I knew King couldn’t just follow her to Germany and neither could I so I thought: how can an English man get into Germany without being killed? I decided to side with them and the rest, as they say, is history.
Redbrick: All of this because you loved a man’s wife? You killed and then joined forces with Hitler just because you loved a man’s wife?
Willow: (shouting, furiously) You don’t know what King was like! You don’t know how he treated me!
He kicks the chair.
Willow: You can sit here and reflect up on your sins before I decide what to do with you. Perhaps, when I get to Berlin, I’ll mount your head on my wall.
He and all of the guards leave. Lights down.
SCENE 13: Willow’s Secret Base-Night
Redbrick has fallen asleep in the chair. Enter Willow.
Willow: (thumping the back of the chair) Wake up, Detective.
Willow: I said, wake up!
Willow: Pretending to be asleep: very well. If you were awake, I would tell you that we’re leaving in ten minutes for Portsmouth.
They exit. Redbrick stirs and stands up. He makes for the exit.
Willow: (offstage) Nice try, detective!
He enters with his pistol pointed at Redbrick. The Army Officers block his path.
Willow: How did you untie the ropes?
Redbrick: Never underestimate a man with a penknife hidden in his shoe.
Willow: Face it, detective. I’m armed and your friends do not know your whereabouts. You cannot take us on all on your own.
Redbrick reaches into his pocket and pulls out Willow’s tracking device and holds it up.
Redbrick: Who says I’m all on my own?
Willow: What’s going on? Guards, search the premises!
We hear sirens. The Army Officers depart.
Willow: How do they know where we are?
Redbrick: I believe that was your slip up, Commander. We expected you were guilty all along and found the tracker a long while before Jones did. Then, Mike worked out how to hack it and, just guessing, they traced me here.
Willow: No! If I’m going down, I’m taking you with me.
He raises his gun.
Black: (offstage) I wouldn’t do that, Willow.
Policemen close in from all sides. Blakely and Jones point guns at Willow. Policemen drag on the rogue Army Officers.
Black: You, Andrew Willow, are under arrest.
Willow: No! Do you know who I am?!
Jones grabs the pistol.
Black: Before we send you off to prison, we have a little surprise for you.
Enter Mrs Campbell. She grabs Willow by the ear.
Mrs Campbell: You’ve been a naughty boy, Andrew Willow!
She drags him off. Blackout for the final time.
Voice: All ended well in the small village of Papplewick. Eva Stenberg was freed and cleared of all charges. Chief Constable Black decided to work overseas and Phillip Jones became Chief Constable for his years of devotion. Linda Campbell retired at seventy and lived to the grand old age of one hundred and ten. Andrew Willow and his men were arrested for treason and spent the rest of their lives behind bars. Michael Blakely was specially recruited to work at Bletchley Park and eventually helped Alan Turing crack the Enigma. And what about Rufus Redbrick? He was awarded a war medal by Sir Winston Churchill himself. As for whether Britain won the war; the rest, as they say, is history.
Rufus Redbrick – Luke Hilton
Michael Blakely – Will Wood
Andrew Willow – Joseph Stafford
George Black – Harry Verity
Phillip Jones – Sam Small
Mrs Campbell – Cece Thayan
Eva Stenberg – Issy Smales
Mrs King – Abi Power
Thomas King – Zully Iqbal
Charlotte Cooper – Alice Hunter-Spokes
Voice – Conor Dixon
Policeman 1 – Isaac Gosrani
Army Officer 1 – Conor Dixon
Army Officer 2 – Zully Iqbal
Army Officer 3 – Karan Swarup
Army Officer 4 – Alice Hunter-Spokes
Army Officer 5 – Amelia Mathieson
Army Officer 6 – Abi Power
Town’s Folk – Everyone NOT an Police Officer (Or Up To Isaac)
Police Officer – Everyone NOT an Army Officer (Or Up To Isaac)
Director – Joseph Stafford
Assistant Director – Isaac Gosrani