Friday, September 3, 2021

Review of "The Mad Tea-Party and Other Festival Skits," by Alan Lance Andersen

 Review of

The Mad Tea-Party and Other Festival Skits, by Alan Lance Andersen ISBN 9780557040032

Four out of five stars

Three short humorous skits/plays

 Lewis Carroll, a.k.a. mathematician/logician Charles Dodgson, wrote the “Alice in Wonderland” books, arguably the best fiction books ever written in the English language. The title work in this collection of three dramatic works is based on the tea-party scene from “Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland.”

 Since modern readers are unfamiliar with some of the tenets of Victorian England, the Mad Tea-Party is narrated by Carroll. The play is humorous, the interjection of Carroll’s commentary lightens the heartedness of the skit. He is very much an active character in the action.

 The second skit is called “Oliver’s Birthday Picnic” and it is based on the famous comedy duo of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. The two comedians are having a picnic in an area where there is a sign stating, “Keep off the grass.” Ever resourceful, the two picnickers use the sign as a makeshift table. An office comes along to shoo them away and the actions becomes classic slapstick with a concluding pie in the face. The dialog and action is very much Laurel and Hardy with a hint of The Three Stooges.  

 The third skit is called “Barcelona” and is based on a nonsensical premise with very exaggerated pseudo-Italian dialog. An officer encounters a crying woman that claims that her husband Luigi was grabbed and carried off by a large dragon. Her first major lines are, “What’s dat-a you say? He ask-a me ifa dere’s-a somathin’ wrong?? Somathin’ wrong!!” While there are times when the dialog breaks into the normal, most of the lines by the female character have this form. There is some humor, but it is weak as the dialog is simply too exaggerated.

 Properly acted while not being taken too seriously, these plays will be entertaining and fun to produce. A list of the needed props for each play is given. They are few and easily obtained.

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