It is the day of the 1966 World Cup Final between England and West
Germany. It is also the day of Stanley Bishops execution for
murdering crime boss Frankie Briggs. Stanley's last minute appeal
has been turned down, but his request, for a wireless has been
granted so he can listen to the World cup final. As Stanley is
illiterate, he asks the prison guard to write a final note to his
mother and father. Innocent
Man. Through the
song Stanley insists he is innocent and explains to the prison guard
how he came to be in this terrible predicament.
Prison set flies away to reveal Trafalgar Square, New Years Eve
Stanley meets Pauline, Penny and Red cellabrating the New Year.
Stanley tells them he's come down to London to locate a friend of
his. Pauline invites him to a Party at 'The Ace of Clubs' owned by
the Briggs brothers. Once at the club crime boss Frank Briggs
appears on stage to make his thank you speeches. Two masked gunmen
burst in and attempt to assassinate him. They are thwarted by
Stanley who over powers them. The two Hitmen flee threatening
revenge on Stanley. . Frank, impressed by the accidental hero offers
him a job.
With nowhere to sleep,
Stanley accepts Pauline's offer of a sofa. Pauline discovers that
Stanley cannot read or write and, through the songs Wonderful
and a reprise of Innocent
man, she learns
that Stanley was a professional Boxer who refused to take a dive at
an organised fight. Consequently the Northern Mafia are after him.
Stanley turns up for work and meets Spike and Belinda. Belinda is an ex-
prostitute who manages the club for her bloke Kenny Briggs. She explains
to Stanley the ' ground rules' for working for the Briggs brothers.
Belinda sings about her seedy past, and her philosophy on life.
and Stanley venture onto Carnaby Street en-route to find Stanley's friend
(his former trainer) as they do they bump into Penny and Red
who tag along.
On arrival at a West End flat, they discover Stanley's friend has
been stabbed and left for dead. With his dying breath, he warns
Stanley that the
Northern Mafia are after him. On hearing this, Kenny is furious
with his brother for employing him. Frank says that they owe Stanley
for saving his life, but Kenny, still unhappy, concocts a plan to
eradicate both Frank and Stanley and seize control of the 'empire'.
to that effect.
Kenny then instructs Spike to track down the Northern Mafia and make
them a proposal. He orders Belinda to get close to Stanley and gain
his confidence. Under Belinda's influence Stanley moves out of Pauline's Bedsit
and into the
room above the club. How
can I tell Him?
The last scene of the first act is set back at the 'Ace of Clubs'. Spike
introduces Kenny to The Northern Hitmen, and a mutually beneficial deal is
struck to carry out Kenny's plan. Nocturnal
Stanley has a bad trip on mescaline and starts to
hallucinate. Stanley panics, Frank tries to
calm him down, but Stanley threatens to kill him.
opening of Act 2 returns to Stanley's prison cell on the day of his
execution. The Final between England and West Germany is about to begin on
the TV. Stanley continues to tell his story via a reprise of Innocent
opening of Act 2
set in a business meeting with the Briggs' and all their cronies.
is sent for the books. Kenny goes ballistic cos Stanley cant read
and insists Frank gets the books.
There are two gun shots and a scuffle and when the gangsters run to
see what has happened. Stanley is stood over a dying Frank holding a
On the afternoon of
Frank's funeral Kenny and Belinda celebrate killing 'Two birds with
one stone' Every
Frank is dead leaving Kenny in charge, and Stanley will be hung for his
murder. The perfect crime. Kenny uses his
power to buy the
Judge and the Jury for Stanley's trial. Belinda is asked by Pauline to
testify on Stanley's behalf, but
now realising that Stanley has been framed sings Rain,
a lament for her
doomed love. Innocent
visits Stanley in Jail and tries to convince him that Kenny and Belinda
are not the friends they seem, Stanley won't listen as he believes they
will testify on his behalf. Freedom Thang!
day of Stanley's trial arrives. Despite the
Defence's valiant attempts to clear Stanley's name it becomes obvious that he
is fighting a losing battle as the Jury and Judge have all been paid off. Stanley is sentenced to
death by hanging. Stanley's
final words are directed to Pauline as he now realises, too late, that she is
the only person that really
I was a Rich man.
the final scene we are back in Stanley's Prison cell. Through the last
concludes his letter with the Warden. Germany equalize with less than one
minute to go so the game goes into extra time. Stanley will never
know who wins the World cup. Believe
Me. In silhouette
the audience see the shadow of Stanley as the noose is placed around his
neck. The famous commentary from the 1966 World cup is heard as
Stanley walks to the gallows.
'Charlton, forward to Hurst. There are some people on the pitch ... they
think it's all over ...' The trap door opens with a deathly thud and
Stanley falls to his death. '... It is now!'
is a saying that 'If you remember the 60's then you weren't really there.'
If you weren't, here's a taste of what
you missed ... ... ... ...
B! made its debut at the Edinburgh Fringe festival 2001.
Directed by Kate Marlow. Choreographed and staged by Letisha 'Wharley'