Coojeebear and the Monster

A young people's story for narrator and orchestra
Music by Barry Booth, Lyrics by Robert A Gray
'Coojeebear and the Monster' is a 55-minute story for young people performed by a narrator and symphony orchestra. There are seven songs in the score (sung by the narrator as various characters), and during the performance the story is illustrated by a sequence of over 500 pictures which are projected onto a large screen suspended over the orchestra. It has been performed many times by major professional orchestras in various parts of the world, as well as by several different youth orchestras.

A commercial recording was made by the Queensland Youth Orchestra with Rolf Harris narrating.

Rolf also did all the artwork for the illustrations. An illustrated book of the story was published in 1990 by Hodder & Stoughton.

An animated film of Coojeebear and the Monster including extra songs, was planned and in production, but, alas, the plug was pulled.

Score Opening Sequence
Coojeebear is trying to decide where to go on holiday.
Score Journey to Loch Ness
He decides to go to Scorland and vist Loch Ness, where he intends to offer help to the distressed 'monster' who is being harassed by unscrupulous scientists.
Score The mad scientists / Coojee meets Nessie
Coojeebear, who is unable to swim, has fallen into Loch ness and is rescued by the gentle and caring Nessie, (the ancient inhabitant of thr loch). This is the moment at which their close friendship begins.
Score "Who Do They Think They're Calling Monster?"
Nessie, the gentle, sensitive and renowned inhabitant of loch Ness, is indignant when she learns that people refer to her as 'monster'. She and Coojeebear hatch a plan to travel to Westminster and lobby parliament to pass a bill of Animal Rights, which will protect all endangered species. This song, "Who Do They Think They're Calling Monster?", is sung by Nessie and expresses her indignation while also announcing the plan.
Score The quest begins
Having decided to ask parliament to pass a bill of Animal Rights, Coojee and Nessie set off (under cover of darkness to avoid being seen), on their journey to Westminster. However, they lose their way in the fog and, as dawn breaks, they find themselves in Ireland on the famous Giant's Causeway.
Score "Sean The Shoemaker" / "Shoes!"
They meet Shoemaker Sean, a Leprachaun who makes shoes for giants. In the first of his songs, "Sean The Shoemaker", he introduces himself and his occupation, whil in the second - a lively, tongue-twisting jig, "Shoes!", he extols the virtues of the shoes he makes.
Score "Siobhan, My Sweetheart"
Sean, the leprachaun shoemaker, has offered to give Coojee and Nessie the giant's shoe he has been working on so that they can use it as a boat to continue their journey to Westminster. In a little song, "Siobhan, My Sweetheart", he sings of his love.
Score Sea journey and storm
Coojee and Nessie have been a giant's shoe by Sean, the leprachaun shoemaker. They use the shoe as a boat - Nessie swims underwater and tows Coojee along on the surface. At first all is plain sailing but soon disaster strikes - the shoelace snaps during a terrible sea-storm and the pair are separated, Coojee eventually finding himself alone, floating on a vast lake. Nessie is nowhere to be seen!
Score Lake Bala / Dylan / Blodwyn / "Vroom! Vroom! Vroom!"
After their unfortunate experience during the storm at sea, Coojee and Nessie are reunited, having by chance arrived at Lake Bala in Wales where resides one of Nessie's cousins, the verse-spouting Dylan. Here they also meet Blodwyn, an irascible welsh witch, who is tricked into giving them a ride over the range of high hills on her motorised broomstick - "Vroom! Vroom! Vroom!" However, the broomstick only works over welsh territory and Blodwyn ditches Coojee and Nessie, leaving them to free-fall into the Herefordshire countryside where, once again, they become separated.
Score "The Ghost Who Cannot Walk Through A Wall"
Following their free-fall from Blodwyn's broomstick, Coojee finds himself at an old ruined castle and encounters the occupant, Sir Jasper Jodhpur, a ghost with an unusual problem - he can't get the hang of haunting. Song: "The Ghost Who Cannot Walk Through A Wall". Nessie reappears.
Score "Stalagmites And Stalactites"
Having helped the failed ghost, Sir Jasper Jodhpur, to overcome his fear of haunting, Coojee and Nessie resume their quest towards Westminster via an underground passage and into dark, gloomy caverns studded with stalagmites and stalactites. To keep up their spirits they sing a song "Stalagmites and Stalactites". In performance, this item affords and opprtunity for some audience participation. Following this break in the narrative, the story continues.
Score Parliament
After their long journey through the tunnel, Coojee and Nessie finally emerge onto the South Embankment of the River Thames. What they see before them is the spectacular London Skyline - and slap-bang in the middle... the Houses of Parliament!
Score Disappointment
Coojee and Nessie have finally reached Westminster, at the end of their quest for a bill of Animal Rights, but their hopes are dashed when they receive a hostile reception. All seems lost as they set off on their journey, thoroughly disheartened. But... another surprise is in store...
Score Royal Proclamation
Finally, Coojee and Nessie enjoy success when they receive a Royal Proclamation guaranteeing protection for Nessie, not only as a National Institution, but also as Britain's most senior citizen!
Score "Animal Rights"
This song, "Animal Rights", is the epilogue to the story of 'Coojeebear and the Monster'. It is an entertaining and spirited song, complete with a 'Rap' section and audience participation.

Listen to radio promos for the 1982 concert at the Barbican.
Round Midnight 1
hosted by Brian Matthews
Round Midnight 2
hosted by Brian Matthews
Start the Week
hosted by Richard Baker

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