CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Foster, Christine and Phyllis Cohen.

Toronto, Playwrights Canada, c1984. 75pp, paper, ISBN 0-88754-394-4. Distributed by Playwrights Union of Canada, 6th floor, 8 York St., Toronto, Ont., M5J 1R2.

Grades 11 and up
Reviewed by Louise Griffith

Volume 13 Number 5
1985 September

Everything But Anchovies is a musical comedy about four high school students who are driving home after an unsuccessful appearance on a high school quiz show. The driver, conceited Eric, is reluctant to face his family after his failure and pretends the car will not go. Shy Buddy, caustic Leslie, and asthmatic Teresa complete the ill-assorted group. Eric produces two water pistols filled with whisky and persuades the others to drink with him. Soon all the typical teen problems are exemplified, drinking, drugs, sex, loneliness, and the agony of self doubt. Several predictable problems arise: Eric cannot start the car: Buddy and Teresa get lost seeking help from a nearby farm, and when Eric and Buddy fight, the girls pretend that Eric has killed Buddy. Finally Buddy speaks and reveals to Eric that he is alive. The group becomes friends and plan a party for the next weekend. Eric realizes that he has tried to start the car in drive instead of park and the play ends happily as the four sing,

When you get a brand new start
Then take it from the top
Can't you feel it in your heart
We're never gonna stop.

Songs are interspersed frequently throughout the play. The lyrics are usually quite good, but the music must be obtained from the author.

The view of teenagers sees rather stereotyped. With a skilfull well-trained musically talented cast and a director with a light touch, this could be an amusing comedy with music as an added treat. Heavy-handed treatment of some of the scenes, however, could produce some of the worst aspects of soap operas.

Teachers in senior grades in health or home economics might profitably obtain copies and have the play acted out in class in segments as a discussion starter. All the characters express different points of view on premarital sex and drinking. Students could discuss the merits of one of these points of view quite readily even if they were hesitant to state their personal views. School and public librarians will probably wish to purchase a copy for their Canadiana sections. Some directors will wish to consider it for public presentation. Christine Foster and Phyllis Cohen, who wrote the music, have made a good start. Let us look for another, better play with more realistic characters.

Louise Griffith, Agincourt, Ont.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works