From One Man, Two Guvnors to Noises Off and What the Butler Saw, trouser-dropping and door-slamming is back with a vengeance in the West End and on Broadway. How come?
Mark Lawson writes…
On radio phone-ins at the moment, one particular word resonates. Government decisions, ministers and U-turns are regularly described as “farcical”. This f-word is partly a surrogate for the other one they can’t say on air, but it also sums up a common attitude to current events: that our politicians have lost control as catastrophically as a theatrical character caught semi-naked with his mistress when the vicar rings the doorbell.
James Corden’s Tony award is deserved recognition for fine-tuned farce
It is Corden’s ability to react in the moment while sticking to the comic structure that makes this an award-worthy performance. Billington writes more here…
Billington more recently wrote this….
Forget hatchet-faced critics – farce is the quintessence of theatre
As a theatrical form, farce is infinitely flexible, timeless and revelatory … and several recent shows prove it’s ripe for a revival
Farce is in the ascendant right now. We’ve just had Feydeau’s A Little Hotel on the Side in Bath, Ben Travers’s Thark is running in Finsbury Park and Terry Johnson’s Hysteria is about to be revived at Hampstead theatre.
For those of us who love farce and think A Comedy of Errors every bit as good a play as King Lear, this is excellent news. But there are clearly others who regard farce as a vaguely inhuman or sexist sub-genre.
I was certainly given pause for thought after reading Fiona Mountford’s review of Thark in the London Evening Standard. She objected not merely to stereotypes where the men are “priapic schemers” and the women are either “shrill battleaxes” or “ditzy bimbos”. She also suggested that many other women critics shared her views and implied that farce was a specifically masculine preoccupation. Could this, I guiltily wondered, be true? http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2013/sep/05/defence-farce-theatre-trend