Review: We R Not Virus - powerful exploration of Covid-19 and racism (streaming via Omnibus Theatre)
Review: Black Women Dating White Men - a candid exploration of interracial relationships

10th birthday list: My favourite comedy plays and a few I didn't like so much

Humour is personal, what one person finds hilarious might fall flat for someone else. And it is really difficult to get right, comic timing is a great skill.


Now I love dark comedy, the uncomfortable laugh that makes you think but I'm also partial to the silliness of a good farce.

Here are my favourite comedies from the past 10 years of writing this blog and I would love to know what your favourites are - tell me in the comments.

Upstart Crow, Gielgud Theatre

A clever and funny play that twists and weaves Shakespeare's plots - often exposing their ridiculousness and prejudices - with modern references.

Teenage Dick, Donmar Theatre

Based loosely on Shakespeare's Richard III the setting is an American high school and the machiavellian protagonist is a hemiplegic student Richard who is fed up of being bullied and teased about his disability.

It was a great combination of fun and dark comedy - and had a brilliant dance sequence.

Emilia, Vaudeville

A potent mix of humour, fun and feminism. It had a powerful message delivered in a deliciously entertaining and clever way.

Present Laughter, Old Vic

Director Matthew Warchus put a fresh spin on the well-trodden Noel Coward play which, coupled with Andrew Scott's performance, made this a sublime comedy.

I reviewed it alongside Noises Off at the Lyric Hammersmith, in a compare and contrast of the two comedies which you can read here.

Out There on Fried Meat Ridge Road, White Bear (and also Trafalgar Studios 2)

Warm and witty it was stuffed full of characters who defy initial impressions. Loved it so much I saw it when it had a much-deserved transfer to the Trafalgar Studios.

Dirty Great Love Story, Arts Theatre

A modern love story that starts on a drunken hen and stag night that had me guffawing with laughter.

Hand to God, Vaudeville Theatre

A demonic hand puppet. What more can I say?

Hangmen, Royal Court

Martin McDonagh's comedy-thriller was just so, so good. It is a beautifully dark comedy and is one I really hope gets streamed while theatres are closed so I can see it again.

The Cripple of Inishmaan, Noel Coward Theatre

Because I can't have just one Martin McDonagh play on this list. I saw the Cripple more than once and loved the bitter edge to its comedy - can't fault at play that makes you laugh and brings a tear to your eye.

The Play That Goes Wrong, Vaudeville Theatre

This started out in as pub theatre and I first saw it when it transferred to Trafalgar Studios 2. It subsequently transferred to the Vaudeville where I couldn't resist seeing it again.

It is a good old fashioned farce  - innocent silly entertainment without feeling dated - and has become a phenomenal success.

The Comedy of Errors, Hampstead Theatre

Propeller Theatre (what happened to them?) made me love Shakespeare's comedy or at least made me laugh a lot. Their Richard III was superb too.

Clybourne Park, Royal Court Theatre

A ridiculously clever black comedy that through uncomfortable laughter said an awful lot about racism.

And some comedy plays that I thought fell a little flat:

The Man in The White Suit, Wyndhams Theatre - despite some contemporary references it felt dated.

The Dresser, Duke of York's Theatre - great performances but otherwise lacklustre and a play that was past its prime.

Tree, Old Vic Theatre - A comedy sketch stretched to fill 85 minutes.

What The Butler Saw, Vaudeville Theatre - Another farce which felt its age, particularly in the way it treats women.