The door

By John Fewings


Two burglars attempt to open a door, with increasingly frustrated results.


Bert (2 burglars)



John 10:9, Luke 10:10


(SCENE: A door set in a wall. It is essential that the door is capable of opening. Enter two "robbers" dressed in striped jumpers, caps and black eye-masks (as in the "Beano" comic, or like Disney's Beagle Boys). They are likeable, "larger than life" characters. BERT carries a tool-bag; CHARLIE carries a sack marked "SWAG". BERT should place the tool-bag in such a position that, throughout the sketch, he can take out from the bag a succession of props, which in total would never have fitted into the bag. (It may be possible to rig up a small screen to achieve this effect.) As there are a great many props, some of which might be difficult to obtain, it may be easier to draw them (in black-and-white) and cut them out of stiff card, so that they are deliberately two-dimensional. This particular ploy, rather than detracting from the sketch, actually adds to the "cartoon" effect.)
(With a nifty look over his shoulder, CHARLIE swaggers confidently across to the door.)
CHARLIE:  What do you reckon, Bert.
BERT:  Dunno, Charlie. You're the expert.
CHARLIE: (Scanning the door edges) No alarm system, no bolts, no padlocks, no nuffing.
BERT:  You're right, Charlie.
CHARLIE:  A doddle.
BERT:  To work?
CHARLIE:  To work.
(BERT takes out from the bag a small collapsible card-table and sets it up centre-stage. From the bag BERT also takes a tool roll and unrolls it on the table. Meanwhile, CHARLIE is methodically putting on a pair of rubber gloves and flexina his fingers. The two adopt an air of professionalism, as if they were surgeons at an operation.)
CHARLIE: Spray. (Holds out hand for the spray)
(BERT clasps his hands and bows his head in prayer. CHARLIE looks wonderingly at BERT, then cuffs him round the head.)
CHARLIE:  I said, "spray" ... the spray.
BERT: Sorry, I thought .... (Takes a small aerosol can from the tool-roll and hands it to Charlie.) Spray.
CHARLIE sprays into the keyhole of the door.
CHARLIE:   Keys.
BERT:  Keys. (Hands CHARLIE a large bunch of keys from the tool-roll)
(CHARLIE looks expertly at the keys before choosing one. He tries it in the lock only to find that it doesn't fit. He glances over his shoulder to see if BERT has noticed before selecting a second choice, then a third, then a fourth. BERT loses interest and starts to read a comic. CHARLIE eventually hands back the keys with a casual toss of his head.)
CHARLIE:  I ... er ... think we'll try the picks.
BERT:  Right you are, Charlie. (Hands CHARLIE a bunch of angled wires of various sizes.) Picks.
(CHARLIE flexes his fingers before delicately picking a pick. He tries this in the lock with no success. As before, he tries various others to no avail. BERT, meanwhile, is picking his finger-nails meticulously.)
CHARLIE: (With a light shrug) Of course ... should have seen it earlier. Screwdriver.
BERT:  Of course.(Hands CHARLIE a screwdriver from the tool-roll.) Screwdriver.
(CHARLIE makes an attempt to unscrew the lock. No success.)
CHARLIE:  Philips screwdriver.
BERT:  (Looking puzzled) Philip's got it.
CHARLIE: Philips screwdriver, with the little star thingey on the end of it.
BERT: Oops! (Hunts for it and hands it to Charlie.) Philips screwdriver.
(CHARLIE now works his way through a succession of tools, becoming slightly more frantic with each new demand. He shields what he is doing from BERT and the audience but loud thumping, clanking, bashing noises betray that it lacks finesse.)
CHARLIE:   Pliers.
BERT:  Pliers.
CHARLIE:   Hammer.
BERT:  Hammer.
CHARLIE.  Chisel.
BERT.  Chisel.
CHARLIE:   Drill.
BERT: (BERT now resorts to the tool-bag and hands CHARLIE a drill.) Drill. (The drill is heard to whine into action.)
CHARLIE:   Jemmy.
BERT:  Jemmy.
CHARLIE:   Sledge.
BERT: (Producing a snow-sledge from the tool-bag.) Sledge.
BERT: As you were, Charlie. (Hunts in the bag to find the tool.) Sledgehammer.
(CHARLIE now sets about trying to demolish the wall, but to no avail. He then turns his attention to digging around the base of the door.
CHARLIE:   Spade.
BERT:  Spade.
CHARLIE:   Pickaxe.
BERT:  Pickaxe.
CHARLIE:  Pneumatic drill.
BERT. Pneumatic drill.
(CHARLIE finally turns from the door, exhausted. Tools litter the ground. Sweat drips from his forehead.)
CHARLIE: This one's slightly more difficult than usual, Bert.
BERT:  If you say so, Charlie.
CHARLIE:  It's a little extreme, perhaps, but .... Jelly!
BERT: Ho-ho, jelly, eh, Charlie? (BERT reaches into the bag to produce a plateful of jelly.)
CHARLIE:  Not jelly ... gelly ... gelignite.
BERT: Sorry, Charlie. My mistake. (Roots around in the bag) Gelignite.
CHARLIE:  (Fixing the gelignite to the door.) Detonator.
BERT:   Detonator.
CHARLIE: (Easing the detonator into the gelignite.) Cable.
BERT:   Cable.
CHARLIE: (Attaching the cable to the detonator.) Plunger.
BERT:  (Producing rubber sink-Plunger.) Plunger.
(CHARLIE is exasperated and forms his hands into fists. He starts to advance on BERT but checks himself and turns his fists downwards to mime the plunging action. BERT likewise makes a Plunging action, then turns to produce a Plunger-detonator from the tool-bag. CHARLIE attaches the other end of the cable to the Plunger mechanism. CHARLIE and BERT retreat to the far side of the stage, perhaps even to the back of the hall. BERT puts his fingers in his ears. expectantly.)
CHARLIE:   Fingers.
(BERT hasn't heard, because he has his fingers in his ears. CHARLIE removes BERT's fingers and repeats ...)
CHARLIE: Fingers.
BERT: Sorry, Charlie.
(BERT now places his fingers in CHARLIE's cars as CHARLIE prepares to operate the plunger to detonate the explosive. CHARLIE plunges! There is a loud explosion! Failing this, a large jagged "flash"-card printed with the word BANG!" appears near the door.) The door stands intact. CHARLIE and BERT make their way back to the proximity of the door. CHARLIE sinks to a seated position on the ground.
CHARLIE:  (Weakly) Bucket.
BERT: (Producing a bucket from the tool-bag.) Bucket.
CHARLIE:   Sponge.
BERT: (Producing a sponge from the bucket.) Sponge.
CHARLIE:   (Sighs)
BERT: (Sighs, squeezing the wet sponge over CHARLIE's head. BERT sinks to the ground beside CHARLIE. Without a word, a young CHILD enters and walks across to the door. Stepping over BERT and CHARLIE, the CHILD knocks firmly on the door. The door opens and the CHILD enters. CHARLIE and BERT collapse even further so that they are now laying full-stretch on the ground. They need to be dragqed from the scene.)

© Copyright John Fewings, all rights reserved.
This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged. In exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed. He may be contacted at: 50 Howdale Road, Hull, HU8 9JZ, UK. Email: