THERE'S A GUY WORKS DOWN THE CHIP SHOP SWEARS HE'S ELVIS
Elvis Presley set foot in the UK only once, on 3rd March 1960, at the Prestwick USAF Air Base in Scotland. The news of the King’s flying visit sends the teenage members of the Elvis Presley Fan Club (Kilmarnock Branch) into a spin as they plan to meet their idol in the flesh. He’ll only be there for a couple of hours so what could possibly go wrong?
Fast forward to the 1980’s to find out….
Cast comprises 5 male & 4 female roles.
Act 1: 55 mins / Act 2 & Act 3: 50 mins (plus an interval)
Scene 1: Jeanie’s bedroom, Kilmarnock 1960
Scene 2: Prestwick Airport (USAF Air Base) 1960
Scene 3: Prestwick Airport (USAF Air Base) 1960
Scene 4: Outside the Base 1960
Scene 5: Jeannie’s bedroom six week’s later
Act 2: Kirsty’s Chip Shop, Kilmarnock 1981
Act 3: Dundonald Village Hall, 1981
The play opens in Jeanie’s bedroom where we meet three Scottish lasses – Jeannie, Zoe & Lizzie and their American guitar-playing friend Ruth. They are the Kilmarnock branch of the Elvis Presley fan club.
A phone call from Rob (Jeannie’s boyfriend) tells them that Elvis will be touching down just up the road at Prestwick USAF base, the next day, on his way home from being a G.I. in Germany. This causes much excitement as the girls plan their visit to Elvis’s press conference the following day. Act 1, Scene 1 features the song All I Have to do is Dream with Ruth (on guitar) and the girls.
In Scene 2 we meet three American servicemen at the base who, apart from being on guard duty, show off their skills as an a capella singing group. NB these three must also be musicians, they are the band in Act 3.
As the girls prepare for the press conference Jeannie is a few minutes late. Actual reports of the press conference state that Elvis was also about 15 minutes late. After the press conference Jeannie meets up with her boyfriend, local newspaper reporter Rob …..
In Act 1 Scene 5 Ruth sings Blue Moon of Kentucky and, with the girls, sings The Wonder of You. The end of Act 1 concludes with the announcement that Jeannie is pregnant.
At the beginning of Act 2 the audience discover that we have moved on 21 years and Jeannie’s child, Vince, has grown up to be an Elvis tribute act who works in a chip shop. We also discover that Zoe, Jeannie’s best friend, has been having an affair with Jeannie’s now husband Rob, and American Ruth has stayed in Scotland and married a local lad.
In Act 3 we are in a local Village Hall where Vince is celebrating his 21st birthday. The main topic of conversation is “who really is Vince’s father?”
Secrets are revealed, old scores are settled and the party finishes with Vince strutting his stuff as the King of Rock’n’Roll.
THERE'S A GUY WORKS DOWN THE CHIP SHOP SWEARS HE'S ELVIS - CAST BREAKDOWN
Jeannie: Scots lass (19 years old – ages up to 40) the lead role. Jeannie is the lively leader of the Elvis fan club By Act 2 she is 40 and sings the opening song (alto) in Act 3. Needs a genuine, or very good, Scottish (Kilmarnock) accent.
Zoe: Jeannie’s best friend (twenty – ages up to early forties). They’ve been big mates since school. In Act 2, she’s 40. Zoe sings the title song (alto) in Act 3.Needs a genuine, or very good, Scottish (Kilmarnock) accent.
Lizzie: (late teens – ages up to late thirties).Third founding member of the “Kilmarnock Elvis Fan Club. In Act 2, she’s 39years Sings backing vocals (soprano). Needs a genuine, or very good, Scottish (Kilmarnock) accent.
Ruth: American (16/17 – ages up to late thirties). Father has been posted to the US Air Base at Prestwick, she has made new friends with Jeannie, Zoe and Lizzie. Actress playing Ruth must be able to play guitar and sing to a high standard. Sings lead on four songs. Also needs a good American (New York) accent.
Rob : Jeannie’s boyfriend (early 20ies – ages up to early forties) Rob is somewhat of a ladies man and is a junior reporter on the local paper. He thinks he is the father of Jeannie’s baby and marries her. Needs a genuine, or very good, Scottish (Kilmarnock) accent.
American mid-twenties; band member in Act 3. A Sergeant from Chicago, he needs to have an air of authority over the two G.I.’s.
Must play lead guitar or bass guitar or drums to a high standard, sing backing vocals (tenor or bass) and be able to sing a cappella.
American mid-twenties; band member in Act 3. A young G.I. from New Jersey who is very self-opinionated. Must play lead guitar
or bass guitar or drums to a high standard, sing backing vocals (tenor or bass) and be able to sing a cappella.
American mid-twenties; band member in Act 3. A young G.I. from Tennessee. Must play lead guitar or bass guitar or drums to a high standard, sing backing vocals (tenor or bass) and be able to sing a cappella.
Vince: Jeannie’s son; an Elvis tribute act (aged 21 – does not appear in Act 1) The actor playing Vince needs to resemble a young (Jailhouse Rock) Elvis. Act 3 is set at Vince’s 21st birthday party so the age is important. Vince sings two Elvis songs (one with a
backing track, one with the band). He does not have to play guitar. He works in the chip shop as his Elvis act is not earning him a living. Needs a genuine, or very good, Scottish (Kilmarnock) accent; and (for the Elvis routine), a general American accent .
THERE'S A GUY WORKS DOWN THE CHIP SHOP SWEARS HE'S ELVIS - STAGE SET
Act 1: Scene 1 – Jeannie’s bedroom covered in pics of Elvis
Scene 2- Entrance to the US Air Base
Scene 3- Entrance to the US Air Base (with barriers in place)
Scene 4 – Outside the Air Base (can be done with lighting)
Scene 5- Back in Jeannie’s bedroom
Act 2: Kirsty’s Chip Shop, Kilmarnock, with Counter / Tables / Chairs
Act 3: Dundonald Village Hall with bar and stage area for the band and decorated for a 21st birthday party
WORDING FOR THE PROGRAMME
The action takes place in and around Kilmarnock, Scotland.
Act I: 1960 / Acts 2 & 3: 1981
WALK IN (Act 1): Music tracks 1955-1960
WALK OUT (end of Act 1): Elvis – Your Cheating Heart
WALK IN (Act 2): Big hits from 1981
Backing track during Act 2: Elvis – US Male
Scene Change between Act 2 & Act 3: More 1981 hit songs
BOWS/WALK OUT MUSIC: Happy Birthday by Altered Images
THERE'S A GUY WORKS DOWN THE CHIP SHOP SWEARS HE'S ELVIS - MUSICAL NUMBERS
UK performance rights for all songs can be obtained from PRS
ACT ONE – Songs VOCALS
All I Have To Do Is Dream (Felice and Boudleaux Bryant) Sony/ATV – Ruth + backing vocals from the girls
The Book Of Love (Patrick/Davis/Malone) – Sony/ATV – The three US Soldiers
Blue Moon Of Kentucky (Bill Monroe) – Peer Music – Ruth
The Wonder Of You (Baker Knight) – Universal – Ruth + backing vocals from the girls
U.S Male (Jerry Reed) – Warner Chappell – Vince (with backing track)
ACT THREE (all songs backed by the live band)
It’s My Party (Gold/Gluck/Weiner/Gottlieb) – Warner Chappell – Jeannie
There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis
(Kirsty MacColl/Philip Rambow) – Warner Chappell/BMG – Chrysalis – Zoe
Hold On Tight (Jeff Lynne) – EMI Music – Ruth
Blue Suede Shoes (Carl Lee Perkins) – Wren Music Co. (BMI), – Vince
A division of MPL Music Publishing, Inc. on behalf of Carl Perkins Music Inc.
1) 1960’s Telephone Ring
2) Plane landing
3) Engine roar and off
4) Screaming fans
5) Louder screaming fans
6) Car horn beeping (Act 3)
The live music in Act Three must come from a three piece band – guitar/bass/drums. These should be played by the actors who were the G.I.’s in Act One.
“There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis” is available for both professional and amateur companies in the UK and the rest of the world.