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Make me an offer : a musical play, music and lyrics by online

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MLbO NC0f/'24
Norman, Monty.
Make me an offer


3 1210 01826 8183


A Musical Play

based on the novel by

Wolf Mankowitz

Book by Wolf Mankowitz

Music and Lyrics by

Monty Norman and

David Heneker




A Musical Play

based on the novel by

Wolf Mankowitz

Book by Wolf Mankowitz

Music and Lyrics by

Monty Norman and

David Heneker



All applications to perform this play should be made to

Samuel French Ltd
26 Southampton Street
Strand London WC2E 7JE

Printed in Great Britain by
Biddies Ltd, Guildford, Surrey







A Tripper

Mindel |
Sweeting J







John True

His Clerk

Chorus of Stall-holders, Trippers and Shoppers, etc.

A young dealer

His wife

A dealer's daughter

A demolition dealer

An important dealer

A lady dealer

American dealers

An unimportant dealer

A Jewish dealer

A Cockney dealer

A Welsh dealer

An Irish dealer

A Cockney dealer

A Country Auctioneer

The Portobello Road "*
Charlie's Flat
Cramping Grange
Porter's Lodge


Combined Principal Set

TIME: A few years ago, when Wedgwood and the Portobello Road
were both still fashionable.



Duet — A Pram Song

Portobello Road

Dog Eats Dog

First Needle Recitative

I Want a Lock-up

If I Was a Man

Business is Business

Intro: Music

Concerning Fleas

(Reprise) Concerning Fleas

Fanfare for a Flea

Concerning Capital

Love Him

Sally's Lullaby

Make Me An Offer

(Reprise) Love Him (Melos)


Sally and Charlie

Charlie, Wendl and Dealers

Charlie, Sally and Girls

Redhead and Dealers

Wendl and Sparta



Sweeting, Min del and Dealers





Whatever You Believe
(Reprise) Whatever You Believe
(Reprise) Whatever You Believe
Second Needle Recitative
Break Up

The Auction (Melos)
It's Sort of Romantic
(Reprise) Pram Song (Melos)
Knock Out

Third Needle Recitative
(Reprise) Business is Business
(Reprise) I Want a Lock-up
(Reprise) Portobello Road



Charlie and Redhead

Wendl and Sparta


Principals and Chorus

Gwen and Sally

Sally and Charlie


Wendl and Sparta


Charlie and Sally

Full Company


The stage can be lit on the principle that when the action is on the rostrum in
Charlie's flat, the most light should be concentrated there and then fade
down on the flat and up on the Portobello Road and vice versa.

There are no actual black-outs in scene changes, and in front cloth settings,
these are done by artists in full view of the audience.



Scene: Charlie 's flat and Portobello Road.

A rostrum occupies the centre of the flat which is
Charlie's flat. The rostrum is divided into two by a
flat with a curtained doorway on the left and the right.
In the back half there is a small double bed U.S.L. and
shelves (not seen from the front) where Sally keeps
her props. The doorway on L. represents the bedroom
and the one on the right the kitchen. The downstage
half has on it a small circular table C. Two wooden
upright chairs on either side. The biggest and best
pram occupies all the available space between the R.
of table and chair and on the edge of the rostrum. Tlie
area surrounding the rostrum represents the Portobello
Road with entrances U.S. and L. and D.S. R. and L.
The D.S. entrances are above the lock-up shop which
is Moishe 's D.S.R. and the Redhead's shop D.S.L.

Early morning grey and cold.

Charlie and Sally are asleep in bed. A n alarm bell rings.
Charlie groans and starts to try and find the alarm
which is on the floor by the bed. He sits up and kicks
it, and it continues to ring. He gets up and picks it up
and eventually switches off knob. He puts clock on

Charlie Where's the knob? Where the hell's the knob?

Sally Charlie, ssh!

Charlie Here it is. That's fixed it. (He gets milk and paper which is at

the foot of steps leading off rostrum D.L. and reading paper
starts to go back into bedroom)

Sally (sitting on edge of bed and yawning) Charlie, don't come back

to bed.

Charlie Why not, I'm still asleep.

Sally So am I. Charles woke me in the night.

Charlie (starts to dress. His trousers and shirt are on the chair L. He

has put milk and newspaper on table) I heard him.

Sally (coming into room carrying her dressing gown and slippers

which, in a sleepy way she struggles into) You were asleep.

Charlie I was asleep. I wish 1 still was.

Sally Put the coffee on, Charlie. Where's the matches? (Looks on

the floor for matches and finds them under table)

Charlie (crosses D.L. of Sally intending to go to kitchen, and crashes

into pram which is in the way, and lets out a yell) Put the
coffee on. Where's the matches?

Sally Ssh. You'll wake the baby.


Charlie Damn the pram, (struggles past pram, rubbing ankle and

hopping, faces Sally across table U.S.) Why can't you find
somewhere sensible to put the pram.

Sally I've tried the kitchen. I can't move — 1 can't cook if I keep it

in the kitchen.

Charlie What about the yard.

Sally The baby gets smuts all over its head in the yard. The top of

the stairs is the only place.

Charlie Damn the pram! (He sings)


Charlie What are we g'n'a to do about the pram.

Sally Stop shouting, Charlie. (Sits on chair L. of table and ignores

him while he makes a scene)

Charlie (sings) What are we g'n'a to do about the pram.

Sally Be quiet, Charlie.

Charlie (sings) The damn pram gets me every day standing on the


Getting in the bloody (ruddy) way in the bloody (ruddy) way
What are we g'n'a do about the pram
What are we g'n'a to do about the pram
This ornamental object hacking pieces off my skin
(puts injured ankle on table to show her)
And look at all these bruises on my ankle and my shin.

Sally (she pushes it off) Take your feet off the table.

Charlie (sings) You know this place can't hold it

It's better if we sold it
And get the kind you fold it
And save me twenty quid.

Sally What are you going on about, CharUe?

Charlie (sings) So what are we going to do about the damn damn, pram.

(speaks) You've got to choose, Sal, it's me or that pram.

Sally (rises and faces him) I chose you and finished up with the pram.

(moves D.S.L. to edge of rostrum)
Sings to audience

Before the pram

We were free as birds

Life was good

No harsh or angry words

He had time

Time for me.

We had fun.

Charlie (spoken) I was free.

Sally (sings) Before the pram

We never rowed at all
And your voice was never loud at all.


Charlie (sings) Till one day you brought it home

That coach built
Silken fringed
Suspension sprung
Two position
Safety braked
Anti-social monster
In chrome.

Charlie and Sally leave rostrum, down the steps on
either side and meet D.S.C. in time to sing the duet

Charlie (speaks) I am the only earless dealer in London, but I need

a garage because you're the proud mother of a pram.

Sally No pram's too good for my son.

Charlie It's so big I could sublet it to a smaller dealer.

Sally Wliere would you find a smaller dealer?

Charlie That's right, destroy me.

Sally Did you pay the last instalment?

Charlie I didn't pay the last instalment.

Sally Why?

Charlie I don't want a pram.

They sing in counterpoint together

Charlie What are we g'n'a to do about the pram

Sally Don't blame me for the mistakes.

Charlie The damn pram gets me every day.

Sally It's your own fault.

Charlie Standing on the landing.

Sally Do something.

Charlie Getting in the bloody (ruddy) way

Sally About it.

Charlie Getting in the way.

Sally Oh!

Charlie What are we g'n'a to do about the pram.

Sally Why are you making such a fuss?

Charlie What are we g'n'a do about the pram.

Sally Why are you making such a fuss?

Charlie (solo) This ornamental object hacking pieces off my skin.

Sally (solo to audience) He makes it sound as though to have a baby

is a sin.

They sing counterpoint together again
Charlie This lousy baby carriage.

Sally Go and get a bigger flat —

Charlie Is ruining our marriage.















Go and get a bigger flat for all of us.

Why can't we find a garage.

Go and get a bigger flat.

To put the bastard in.

Now you've said it. Who said bastard, who said bastard, who
said bastard.

(speaks) I meant the pram. I meant the pram, I meant the

pram. (Sings solo)

So what are we g'n'a do about the —

(sings solo) So what are we g'n'a do about the —

Damn damn pram.

They kiss good natu redly and Charlie chases Sally
back into flat using steps L. Charlie grabs his shoes
and starts to leave flat down steps on L.

So at least have something before you go out.

Charlie exits, having dressed by now, and goes
out to the street

I've already had something.

Charlie, ask Sparta if we can keep the pram in his shed. Maybe
that's a solution.

1 doubt it.

Well, at least you could try.

All right, Sally, I'll try. I always try. They're going to put it on

my bankruptcy report. C minus for trying.

He goes moving U.S.L. round back of rostrum and
exits U.S.R. Sally picks up milk, paper and matches
and puts them in the kitchen. She then goes into
bedroom and gets dressed behind flat. (Not seen from
front) Simultaneously the dealers and shoppers
enter from all entrances calling out their wares to
one another during the opening bars of 'Portobello
Road' song, eventually falling into line across the stage
to sing 'Portobello Road '. Bernard has an old pram
hung with tatt)' lace, jewellery and saucepan lids. He
puts pram D.S.R. of rostrum. Taffy carries a suitcase,
the bottom of which is stuck to small folding card
table. He unfolds this and opens suitcase which
contains fur and colander and fluffy toys and
balloons. D.S.C. rostrum. Sally when dressed tidies
flat, makes bed, then sits behind bedroom flat until
her next scene



PORTOBELLO ROAD - (Dealers and Shoppers)

Come'n have a gander
At the Portobello Road.
Buy yourself a bargain
In the Portobello Road,
Here, dear,

Come'n see what we've got
You will do your lot
Make me an offer.

Pretty Shopper steps forward and crosses to R. in
front of line up

Here's a classy load of gear
It's just your cup of tea.

Dealer puts fur ratnd her neck as she passes, and

then pulls it off as she doesn 't buy

Have it at your price my love,

But leave a bit for me.

Well, gel.

Have it, it's all lah mode

Punting in the Portobello Road.

There are pots of all sorts

In the Portobello Road.

Moishe holds an enormous pot aloft

Big pots, small pots, pink pots
In the Portobello Road.
Come chum.
Give us a big surprise.

Dealer puts colander wreathed with flowers on his

Try it for size.

All pointing at Dealer with colander

Don't he look lovely?

The Dealer next to him takes it off and it is quickly
passed down the line until Gwen Sparta on the end
R. puts it on the ends of her broom handle and
juggles it around

Just what you've been looking for

I don't know what it is

You can hang it on your door

Or on your ole tin liz

Great mate

Let the old girl be blowed

Shlapping in the Portobello Road.

Dealers flogging gear to audience speak the next few
lines under the music


Taffy Don't be shy.

Here — hold of this, girl. It won't bite.

Paddy I've got a shillelah just for you, lady.

Moishe Don't go away, Mrs. Goldberg, the next bit's good.

Milton Look, Madam, I had it specially plated for you.

Bernard Paint it white and no one'll know the difference.

Fred Of course you can have a look underneath, madam.

Moishe Formerly the property of a countess in her own right now
deceased - by my life, lady.

Make me an offer

Life's a proper punch-up

In the Portobello Road.

Pick yourself a punter

In the Portobello Road.

Push Mush

Bash it and shoot your load

Flogging in the Portobello

Shlapping in the Portobello

Punting in the Portobello Road.

Line breaks up. Dealers go to their pitches on stage
and Shoppers exit, looking at stalls as they go. Taffy
packs up suitcase and exits. Charlie enters from
D.S.R. pushing his barrow which has wedgwood
pieces already displayed on it. There is also a
cardboard box containing more Wedgwood pieces and
a duster. He puts his duster D.S.L. corner of rostrum.
He sits on the edge of the rostrum and starts to
unpack his pieces.

Gwen (to audience) Here's Charlie - I'm mad about 'im, he's a dish,

look at them curls. (She starts to sweep up outside the shop,
all the time trying to catch Charlie 's eye)

Moishe is now sitting outside his shop on a bentwood
chair he has brought out himself, and is busy sand-
papering a small wooden bookcase. His assistant sits
inside the shop polishing some armour

Moishe How's the kid, teething?

Charlie Got three big tusks.

Moishe Bless him, you should have a dozen.

Charlie Don't be so eager for me.

Paddy (crosses C to Charlie from his pitch which is just U.S. of D.S.R.

entrance) Charlie, Geezer asking for you yesterday.

Charlie Buying or selling?

Paddy Selling.

Charlie You have him.

Paddy goes back to his pitch and sits on stool and
starts to polish candelabra

















Fred moves to Charlie from his pitch which is just
U.S. ofD.S.L. entrance. He carries huge frying pan

See something in your line yesterday.

Good luck.

Had a big crack in it - any good?

Work it out for yourself, mate. What good would you be with
a crack in you?

I'd find a taker down here, mate. We got takers for everything
down here.

Fred goes back to pitch and starts polishing frying pan.
Sits on stool. Gwen still sweeping, is edging herself
Charlie's way R.C. Charlie unpacks black Basalt vase
and puts it in prominent position front ofDarson

Send some my way, Onassis — hello, Gwen.

Hello, Charlie. (Looking surprised as if she didn Y notice him
before, and goes coy)

Through the following scene Charlie stalls out his
small specialised collection of not very interesting
Wedgwood items. Gwen Sparta, about Sally 's age but
plain, a friend but niggly, is tidying up her father's

Is your father about yet, Gwen?

No. Why?

I want to talk to him.

Dad's a little late this morning.

What's the trouble?

He was awake tossing and turning all night shouting out
figures the whole time.

He's counting the money he lost on goods he sold before the
prices went up.

How's life with you, Charlie? How's business?

Life and business are both over-crowded.

But you're making good with your pitch in the market.

I don't pay tax yet, but I hope to.

Moishe picks up catalogue which is on floor outside

shop and starts to look at it

Like Daddy always says. In this trade even when you don't do

business at least it's for cash.

(gets up and crosses to Gwen and gives her catalogue and then

returns to seat) 'Ere, Gwen, you've dropped something.

(to audience) I should have given this to him days ago, but I'm

not cut out to be a secretary. No, I'm much more of a homey

type. Like Sally.



Abe Sparta enters from U.S.L. crosses to D.S.L. and
sees Gwen

Gwen (offering to do his dusting) Let me give you a hand with that,


Sparta Gwen, either be my secretary or get married. I don't want

anything in between.

Gwen (breaks away from Charlie and starts to walk sulkily to shop

and exits through doorway - to audience) Sometimes I feel
like that girl in the Barretts of Wimpole Street.

Sparta Marriage is a foundation for business and business is a

foundation for marriage. Am I right Charlie?

Charlie With your property interests how could you be wrong,

Mr. Sparta?

Gwen quickly re-enters still with catalogue

Gwen I forgot to give him this, (to Sparta) This catalogue came a

couple of days ago, daddy.

Sparta (crosses to Gwen D.S.R. ofC. - looking at catalogue) This

bloody sale's tomorrow, Gwennie. When am I going to view
it? How can I buy without viewing?

Gwen Do what you like. I hate men. (Exits through shop doorway)

Sparta is looking at the catalogue

Charlie Mr. Sparta.

Sparta Yeah.

Charlie We've got a little problem.

Sparta That girl of mine, the coal she burns, it's diabolical.

Charlie (rises and moves towards Sparta D.R.) It's the pram, Mr. Sparta.

Sparta (going) I'll see you later, Chadie. This bloody sale's tomorrow.

(He goes to his shop)
Charlie (shouting after him) It's about putting our pram in your shed.

(Goes back to barrow, throws duster down and moves off

U.S.L. to get himself a cup of tea)

But Sparta has gone

Bernard who has been quietly chatting to Milton
whose pitch is U.S.L. above Paddy's starts to move
across stage to L., followed bv Milton - they exit

Bernard Coming for a cup of tea?

Milton Might as well - not much doing 'ere.

Bernard Pat, look after my barrow, will you?

Paddy What, again?

Bernard Get us a roll with . . .

Gwen enters from shop and crosses stage to L.
intending to visit Sally


Milton With what?

Fred Your money.


Charlie 's Flat.

Gwen standing on steps L. leading into Sally 's flat.
Gwen Sally, Sally.

Fred She is in.

Gwen Sally, Sally.

Sally (putting head through kitchen doorway) Yes, Gwen.

Gwen You got any of them pUls?

Sally What pills are them, Gwen?

Gwen Them Multivate or whatever they're called.

Sally They're no good for you, Gwen.

Gwen Oh, go on, they might warm me up.

Sally Well, come on then, if you're coming.

Gwen (goes into room) Well, if you want some company.

Sally Coffee?

Gwen Yes, if it's hot. Where's the baby? (Puts her head through

bedroom door and talks to imaginary baby to her left)
Hallo, Charlie. Isn't he pretty Sally?

Sally Don't wake him.

Gwen Horrible when he was first born though. Pretty now, though -

isn't he? He's like Charlie. (Moves D.S. and sits on chair L.)

Sally He's like me, too.

Gwen Got your ears.

Sally What's the matter, Gwen? (Coming in with tray laid with

coffee jug and two cups. She puts tray on table and sits in

chair R. She pours out coffee)
Gwen I've just had a row with Dad.

Sally The old Bear. He won't let us keep our pram in your shed.

Gwen I made him let you have the flat.

Sally We're grateful, Gwen - honest.

Gwen Forget it. (She shivers) I'm always so cold, my chilbains are

killing me.
Sally I told you to take calcium tablets.

Gwen Rather have a man to keep me warm.

Sally Marriage is not a bed of roses, you know, Gwen. It has its ups

and downs.


Gwen Don't I know it. When I remember my mother and think what

I've been spared.

Sally Well, at least we don't argue. Me and Charlie just settle

everything like grown up people.

Gwen Yes, I've heard you. Here, Sal, you look a bit off colour this


Sally I feel a bit.

Gwen (suddenly realising Sally is pregnant again) Well, at least that's

one good thing you can say for being on the shelf, at least

that can't happen to you.

Sally Oh no?

Gwen Did you hear that Mrs. Abraliam's Sarah ran away with a

taxi driver?

Sally Go on, by taxi?

Gwen How else. One of them new ones too. (Referring to Sally 's

pregnancy) Oh well, I expect Charlie will be pleased.

Sally What about, Mrs. Abraham's Sarali?

Gwen (looking in coffee pot which is empty, she rises and takes pot

into kitchen, crossing U.S.) Be nice for young Charlie, to have
brothers and sisters. The boys can go into partnership with
Charlie and the girls will be company for us. Mind you the flat
is a bit small.

Sally For what we pay your old man for this mousetrap he should

give Charlie a partnership.

Gwen (returns and stands U.S. of table looking at Sally) There's none

left. (Referring to coffee) You do look off colour. A bit like

Sally Gwen, I didn't tell Charlie yet.

Gwen Oh! (Moves D.S. to her chair)

Sally And Gwen.

Charlie and Sparta enter from U.S.R. in quiet
conversation. They cross back of rostrum and come

Gwen (sits chair L)Yesl

Sally If you tell him I'll cut your throat.

Gwen Why should I tell him. 1 never tell anybody.

The lights fade on the flat, and the street lighting
comes up. Sally indicates to Gwen that she would
like some help with the pram. They manoeuvre it
through kitchen door and stand it at back of rostrum.
Sally draws curtain across kitchen doorway. Gwen
exits down steps at back of rostrum R. and makes
her way slowly back to shop D.S.R.
All this is done while the following scene is




Portobello Road.

Abe Sparta with catalogue and glasses on.

Charlie and Sparta both D.S.L. ofC. Other dealers
enter U.S.L. and go to their pitches approaching them
from U.S. Bernard goes to his pram and sits on
rostrum R.

Sparta Here, Charlie.

Charlie Yes, Mr. Sparta.

Sparta This sale tomorrow, it's right up your street. Take a look at


Charlie "Cramping Grange for Demolition" — your street you mean.

Sparta Read that.

Charlie A panelled room with a superb frieze of Wedgwood has reliefs

Sparta Isn't it from specialising in this Wedgwood that you can't

afford the rent I charge you? Come on, don't be so cagey
about it, Charlie boy. How much is it worth?

Charlie Well, be conservative about it . . .

Sparta Be labour about it if you like (Money has no politics - has it

love?) (To audience)

Charlie Say a tenner a piece.

Sparta (looking at catalogue) A monkey. Five hundred quid for the

wedgwood alone, you reckon?
Charlie In my case you understand, it's academic.

Sparta That panelling's worth five hundred to me.

Charlie Can we be practical for a moment, Mr. Sparta?

By this time Gwen is coming D.S.R. She catches
sight of her father and endeavours to creep back
into her shop without him noticing

Sparta Yeah.

Charlie Why don't we keep our pram in your shed. It's only a small

pram and my wife . . .
Sparta (just catching Gwen as she goes through door - calls) Gwen?

Gwen (standing just outside shop) Yes. What -

Sparta How's the shed?

Gwen What shed?

Sparta The coal shed.

Gwen It's full up. Why?

Sparta Never mind why.

Gwen (looking at Charlie) There's always room for Charlie.

She goes into shop


Sparta It's full - the coal she burns? Anyway for the rent you pay I

don't think it's even ethical to ask.

Charlie Pardon me for living, Mr. Sparta.

Sparta Granted. If you say that Wedgwood's worth five hundred you

must be leaving yourself a good margin.

Charlie And if you say the panelling's worth five hundred you must be

leaving yourself an even better margin . . . and you can't see
your way clear about the shed?

Sparta If the Wedgwood's worth the panelling and th? panelling's

worth the Wedgwood and you can use the Wedgwood and I can
use the panelling, this could be the basis for a perfect business

Charlie It's a mirage. You need a big dealer.

Wendl, a big dealer, enters D.S.R. and looks at
Paddy 's pitch. Sparta notices Wendl

Paddy Morning, Mr. Wendl.

Charlie Like Mr. Wendl, for example.

Wendl (calls to Abe Sparta and then moves U.S.R. across back of

rostrum) Hello, Abe.

A tripper enters D.S.L. She goes to Fred's pitch and
looks at his things, and then crosses to Charles
Darson, her interest is particularly taken by a black

Sparta (pointing at Wendl) That bastard. I'll dance on his grave. If he

doesn't keep where he belongs at the other end of the market
I'll have his last tooth.

Charlie You've a lot in common, Mr. Sparta.

Sparta Eh?

Charlie You're both top dogs.

Sparta If he comes down here I'll shoot him.

Tripper tries to attract Charlie's attention. He turns
and sees her and dives back to behind barrow and
picks up black vase

Tripper How much is that vase, please?

Sparta (whispering across stage to Charlie) Not a word about

Cramping Grange, Charlie, do you get me?

Charlie Forty-five shillings.

Tripper starts to escape from him and crosses R.

It's a very interesting example of the black basalt decorated

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