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Best Stage Comedy Plays – As recently passed comedian Sean Lock once said: “That’s the thing about comedy, there’s something utterly delightful and slightly pure about a really good joke, and to create one is a great pleasure.” Nothing quite compares to the fun and freedom a great comedy performance brings and enjoying comedy on stage ensures a fantastic night out and chance to experience some of the best comedic writing and performances available.
Best Stage Comedy Plays
The ability to make others laugh is a real skill and comedy writing is renowned as amongst the most difficult to master. As you’ll see below, there are many examples of fantastic comedy writing in these top stage comedy plays.
The 39 Steps
Patrick Barlow’s 2005 stage adaptation of the Hitchcock film of the same name takes ridiculousness to a playful level. The comedic nature of the play sees a cast of just four flitting between different characters and sometimes several characters all at once as the scene descends into even more absurdity.
The original spy story remains present but layered with comedy and nonsense to create an endlessly popular stage show, ranking amongst the longest-running shows in the West End.
Home, I’m Darling
Laura Wade’s 2008 gender-themed comedy attracted 6 nominations and a win for the best play at the 2019 Olivier Awards.
Home, I’m Darling sees protagonists Judy and Johnny attempting to live out their 1950s ideals in a world where it’s no longer quite as straightforward as they think.
Attacking traditional gender roles with comedy and fun makes Home, I’m Darling a hilarious watch.
A standout play from Noel Coward’s extensive range, Private Lives keeps it light and entertaining, with two divorcees bumping into each other on adjacent hotel balconies while on honeymoon with their new spouses. Beginning with this humorous coincidence, Coward turns convention on its head as this former married couple finds a way back together and ends absconding off to Paris.
Catty niggles and flamboyancy add hilarity to the play and its anti-romantic vibes make it all the more enjoyable.
On the stage long before it hit our screens, Willy Russell’s Educating Rita brings together classic scouse wit in a heartfelt class-based comedy. Showing the best and worst of the working and middle classes, Educating Rita has a cast of just two and the whole play takes place in the office of a university tutor.
Littered with traditional jokes as well as the comedy of language, with the title character Rita regularly shocking the tutor with profanities for her own amusement throughout the play. Educating Rita is a regular at Blackpool Grand Theatre.
The Book of Mormon
Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s The Book of Mormon maintains the irreverence and crudeness they became known for with TV cartoon comedy South Park. Ripping into the Mormon faith with no holds barred, The Book of Mormon is an all-singing, all-dancing comedy musical that ensures audiences are shocked into silence or crying with laughter.
Not one for the easily offended.
One Man, Two Guvnors
A masterful reworking of the 18th century Goldoni comedy Il Servitori di Due Pardoni, Richard Bean’s One Man, Two Guvnor’s moves the comedy from Venice to Brighton in the 1960s. Francis Henshall, failed skiffle player is our hero and both verbal and slapstick comedy combine for a hilarious show which keeps returning.
The latest actor to tread the boards in the role of Henshall was James Corden, offering up his comedy genius to the role. When One Man, Two Guvnors staged at Blackpool Grand it starred Ruffus Hound and Jodie Prenger.
The Importance of Being Earnest
There is a lot to be said for Oscar Wilde’s work and The Importance of Being Earnest ticks almost all the boxes of a conventional and enjoyable comedy play. Entanglements aplenty as well as lost handbags and pantomime-esque wicked relatives, the cast and plot combine wittily to create a timeless comedy.
Wilde’s talent for teasing and mocking the niceties of the upper classes remains as enjoyable and entertaining today as it ever was.
The Lieutenant of Inishmore
Fans of the darker side of comedy will rate Martin McDonagh’s The Lieutenant of Inishmore up there with the best. Focused on Mad Padraic, a gunman hilariously considered too extreme for the IRA is back in his local village and out to avenge the killers of his beloved cat.
While the funny side of this comedy has never waned, it is hard to not recognise it as a satire on terrorist violence and appreciate it all the more.
The Lieutenant also bagged the 2003 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy.
Labour of Love
Who said politics can’t be funny? James Graham’s Labour or Love follows the journey of a British MP and his key advisor.
The play spans 25 years, considers cultural and societal change and is full of wit and humour which, while understated, still captures any audience.
The original cast starred Martin Freeman, Tamsin Grieg and Rachael Stirling and proved a huge hit, and not just with politics fans.
Michael Frayn’s Noises Off has been performed countless times since its inception in 1982. A hilarious comedy that pokes fun and provides backstage insight into what happens behind the scenes of a play. The play in question is the hilariously named and terribly produced and performed sex epic “Nothing On”.
This a comedy play for lovers of comedy players and all kinds of theatre buff as the cast hilariously considers whether the old cliché “the show must go on” really must be adhered to.
We’re truly spoilt for choice when it comes to high-quality comedy, whether looking for the latest hit or a timeless classic. You can catch a whole range of brilliant comedies at the Blackpool Grand and we also regularly update our blog with comedy recommendations and more.
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