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13 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
A brilliant exposition of the lost art of the farce..............., 27 July 2008
Author: ianlouisiana from United Kingdom
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Farce has been defined as "Comedy at 100 m.p.h." and "Dry Rot" is all that and more.Throughout the 1950s and 60s the "Whitehall Theatre" in London was famous for staging a series of farces that ran for years to packed houses.Theatre of this kind depends on split - second timing,agility and spatial awareness as well as interaction with the audience and the willingness to go happily O.T.T. every night and matinees on Wednesday and Saturday for coachloads of O.A.P.s from Birmingham or Worthing.The great Brian Rix,perhaps our finest farceur,was interviewed in the long - defunct "Scene" magazine back in 1963 under the headline"Twenty Years without trousers" and spoke knowledgeably and affectionately about the long history and traditions of the genre.Forty five years later productions - both amateur and professional - of "Dry Rot" still proliferate.It was recently voted into the list of the Top 100 plays of all time. The 1956 movie of the 1954 play is very much a throwback to the 1930s in its tone and content.Dodgy bookmakers,Country houses,maids,comedy police,secret passages - there is an almost Enid Blyton - like innocence to it all. Within a few years the introduction of Betting Shops was to signal the end of the wide boy individual bookmaker with an eye for the main chance who would take your money with a nod and a grin and replace him with the corporate bookmaker with an eye for the main chance who would take your money with a cold - eyed remorselessness. You won't find a Betting Shop in the High Street called "Flash Harry's". Mr R.Shiner,Mr Rix and Mr S.James together with the always formidable Miss P.Mount are the principle actors here.They give every appearance of enjoying themselves hugely - one of the prerequisites of a good farce is that the cast should transmit the fun and excitement of performance to the audience.It is no place for introspection or post - modern irony. Doors must be slammed,trousers must be dropped,lines must be shouted. Maurice Elvey sensibly leaves well enough alone from the director's chair.Writer John Chapman plays a small part and I suspect had some degree of influence over how his fellow thespians interpreted his work. Miss Shirley Anne Field makes an uncredited appearance three years before her big chance in "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning",her subsequent career a study in frustration for the many like me who saw her as a rare talent. The plot,such as it is,about "ringing" a racehorse to bring about a betting coup is pretty much incidental,merely a device on which to hang the joyously silly gags and pratfalls.Back in 1956 I paid my 1/9 to watch Ronnie,Sid,Brian and Peggy do their schtick.Getting Shirley Anne Field thrown in was an unexpected bonus.
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Anno Domini has given me a Humour Bypass, 21 February 2011
Author: (email@example.com) from United Kingdom
My sense of humour must have changed quite a radically since I was 9
years old when I first saw this farce on stage at the Whitehall theater
with my late parents with (if I can remember back 56 years ago), Leo
Franklin in the part of Sid James.Yes, Brian Rix was in the cast and
yes he lost his trousers in good old farce style.In fact I cannot think
of Brian Rix in another dramatic role when il ne perdu pas ses
pantalons!So After 55 years I bought this film out of curiosity to find
out whether I would find any humour still existing in 2011.The answer
was only mild echoes from my youth.We had very primitive humour before
they were sharpened on Monty Python, Blackadder, satire and modern
fearless stand up comedy from the likes of Ben Elton, Bernard Manning
What I did find of interest was seeing Lee Paterson whose most famous role was as Group Capt.Turner, the Canadian fighter pilot from the film "Reach for the Sky" (1956) starring Kenneth More and Heather Sears as "Susan" in "Room at the Top" starring Lawrence Harvey.Sid was Sid James and Ronald Shiner played his usual ignorant cockney role.
Obviously the film has outside location scenes not possible in a theatre production especially shots of Sandown Park racecourse.Had I written this review when I was 9, I would have scored it 8/10 but now alas, I rated it only 5/10 as the humour seemed very primitive to my aging eyes.
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