Parlour Tricks by Jamie Bradley and Scott Owen
Book & lyrics by Jamie Bradley, Music & lyrics by Scott Owen
Set in 1842 “Rum Town”, Nova Scotia, failed mortician, Ernest Newman, his doting wife Vera, are bankrupt. They use their last pound to buy an asylum corpse for a window display; but, instead, discover an alive Chester. When Ernest is slapped with a huge fine for unpaid taxes, the two men embark on a midnight scam; tossing a spare body out the attic window in front of passing carriages and extorting money from the drivers. They’re arrested, but escape custody; and, while fleeing, Chester’s true identity is uncovered and its connection to his bogeyman nightmares. They discover a furious Vera sitting in front of the court-shuttered funeral parlour. Admitting defeat, a despondent Ernest surrenders to the police. With Chester by his side, he faces conviction. Vera presents evidence that Ernest’s
true surname is not Newman but Oldman; Ernest having changed his name upon arriving in Rum Town. The invalid arrest warrant forces the judge to release him; but, not before vowing a vendetta.
As they board a ship to England, Ernest and Vera bid farewell to Chester. Later, Chester has become a new man, having adopted the surname “Newman”, runs a candy shop out of the old Newman’s Funeral Parlour.
Keywords: Musical, Musical Theatre, Musical Comedy, Comedy, Farce
Genre: Celtic Historic Musical Comedy
Run time: 90 minutes
Suitable for students 16+
Content note: contains mild language
Cast size: 5 actors
Male roles: 13
Female roles: 5
Musician roles: 5
Casting notes: Although the show was written with actor/musicians in mind, a separate band could be used. Ernest, Chester, and Vera are dedicated roles for two men and one woman. All others can be switched up.