Everyone loves to have a laugh, and many of us love the theatre. So we have compiled the five best theatrical comedies which are some of the most humorous plays ever to be written.
5) East – Steven Berkoff
This play premiered in 1975 and remains relevant today with its theme of the rite of passage. However, it’s also hilariously funny. Physical theatre combined with Berkoff’s clever, sarcastic writing, plus the casting of ‘Mum’ using a male actor, understandably causes the audience to laugh out loud at the droll, often sexual, revelations exposed. Sex, politics and a representation of a motorbike made from the human body – what more could you want?
4) Legally Blonde the Musical – Heather Hach, Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin
The only musical on our list, but it simply had to be included. If you’ve seen the film and loved it, the musical is a hell of a lot funnier! If you hated the film, still watch the musical – if only for the song ‘There Right There’, an hilarious parody of a courtroom scene, which reveals how the heroine uncovers some vital evidence… Well worth a watch, even if you don’t like the colour pink, Chihuahuas or singing.
3) The History Boys – Alan Bennett
On paper, a story of a dysfunctional group of boys attempting to make it to Oxford University whilst being assisted by their troubled teachers, doesn’t appear to make an excellent comedy. It is true The History Boys has its darker moments and touches on some controversial and highly sensitive issues, but Bennett’s writing handles this with aplomb, managing to bring light and humour into the lives of his troubled teenage boys.
2) The Bald Soprano – Eugene Ionesco
A hysterical, oddball masterpiece, and in my opinion Ionesco’s finest work. Written in the absurdist style, Ionesco explores the oddities of life, especially that of the prim and proper English couple Mr and Mrs Smith, whose lines increasingly make less and less sense until the whole play ends with a triumphant yet nonsensical climax that promises to leave the audience in stitches.
1) The Importance of Being Earnest – Oscar Wilde
This undoubted classic has to come at the top of our list. The period setting, satirical condemnation of Victorian London and general farcical comedy culminates in severe cases of mistaken identity, and a love of the name Ernest. The character of the formidable Lady Bracknell, the overbearing and hypocritical matriarch of the play, with her fascination with reputation and cutting one-liners is one of the best comic characters ever written, and undoubtedly is a key factor as to why this play is still so popular over a hundred years after its first performance.
Image courtesy of Amy Wilcockson