Offending the Audience
Trevor Griffiths’s play, Comedians (1975) makes much use of direct-address techniques, as its date and title suggests. It shows four stand-up comics and a duo act putting into effect what they have been taught at night school. They present their acts at a north of England club under the eye of their teacher, a disillusioned music-hall star, the Lancashire Lad of Yesteryear (played in the first production by a genuine music-hall comedian, Jimmy Jewel).1Two of the comedians are Irish and one is Jewish; the members of the cross-talk act come from Blackley, near Manchester; the fifth act, Price’s, begins with mime, has a patter that leaves the concert secretary ‘probably shocked’, which seems hardly possible, and concludes with four bars of ‘The Red Flag’ played on a Grock-like miniature violin, ‘very simple and direct’. Act i is a warm-up and final briefing, held at the night school centre. The second act takes place in the club, between sessions of bingo, and the last act is a post-mortem. There is added tension for the prospective professional comedians (and the audience) in that a talent spotter, Bert Challenor, with whom their coach (Eddie Waters) does not see eye to eye, has come to assess their acts.
KeywordsBurning Hunt Dition Dine Editing
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