Whenever: Synopsis

Cast: 5 male / 4 female
Running time (approximate): 2 hours 5 minutes - not including the interval.
Availability: Whenever is available for both professional and amateur production.
Acting edition: Published by Faber.


Emily Bonner (A nine-year old girl)
Lucas Lashmore (Her uncle)
Charity Lashmore (His wife)
Clara Lashmore (Emily's cousin)
Martin Bonny (Emily's uncle)
Woolton (A butler)
Mrs Binns (A housekeeper)
Bob (A footman)
Oscar Fieldman (An air-raid warden)
Nigel Chatterton-Brown
ZI99I (Ziggi) (A droid)
Hoombean (A creature)
The Timekeeper

Various bomb shelter people, singers, robots.

Note: With the exception of Emily and Oscar, all roles are doubled up in Whenever.
In her Uncle’s house, young Emily is being tormented by her cousin Clara. Emily goes to her Uncle Martin to talk about Clara and finds him putting the finishing touches to his latest invention, a time machine. After a successful experiment with the butler Woolton, Emily is sent to bed but returns later to hear Martin arguing about the machine with her evil Uncle Lucas. Lucas wants to use the machine to make himself rich, which Martin will never allow and threatens to tell Lucas’s family. In a rage, Lucas stabs Martin and discovers Emily. He tries to kill her too, but she inadvertently escapes into the future in the time machine.

She arrives in 1940 during a German bombing raid. She meets the cowardly but good natured Oscar, but is then kidnapped and taken to a stately home where an opulent party is taking place. A much aged Lucas and Clara are waiting for her, made prosperous by dealing with the Germans – now set to win the war in an altered timeline. Oscar rescues Emily and sceptically finds himself travelling on with her to the future as they can find no means to send the machine back in time.

They arrive in 2010 and after being decontaminated by robots, discover one of the last surviving humans, Char Tee (Clara’s great, great grandchild) protected like a museum piece by robots and machines. Lucas's machinations in the past have led to an apocalyptic conflict which has virtually wiped out humanity. Emily, Oscar and a malfunctioning droid call Ziggi grimly move on to the end of time.

There they meet the final human being - a large furry beast called Hoombean - and the Timekeeper. She explains the big bang theory and how when the universe contracts, it will enable the party to travel back in time and put things right.

The universe begins to contract and the group are thrown back in time to Uncle Martin’s lab. The rest of the group hide in a cupboard while Emily goes to avert tragedy. But she is in a separate time-stream and cannot be heard by either herself (still there from the original event) or Martin. At the critical moment, Emily’s scream rips through time and space alerting Martin and bringing Clara and Charity down to the lab to see Lucas’s disgrace. They are expelled from the house after Emily proves that Clara is merely a bully and no longer scares her.

The time line is restored to normal and from the cupboard emerges a brave and decorated Oscar, Ziggi who is now part of the Techno Circus and First Ambassador Zarack. Humanity has spread to the stars in the future. They all return to their rightful places in time, leaving Emily to tell Martin of her fantastic adventures.

Article by Simon Murgatroyd. Copyright: Haydonning Ltd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.