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Edited by Winston Smith. Toronto, Playwrights Union of Canada, 1987. 364pp, paper, $14.95. ISBN 0-88754-427-4. CIP

Grades 10 and up
Reviewed by Louise Griffith

Volume 16 Number 4
1988 July

Four New Comedies is an excellent collection of four genuinely amusing plays that spring strongly from Canadian roots. Each makes significant comments on a variety of aspects of the Canadian scene.

Would you Like a Cup of Tea? by Warren Graves is a one-act drama telling of the lives and amorous adventures of two men, James, a retired, rather seedy British colonel, and his former batman, Herbie, who is now a member of the Canadian commissionaires. Monkeyshines by Suzanne Finlay is about Dorothy, a widow celebrating her birthday. An admirer named Stuart calls, and he and Dorothy decide to resume and extend their relationship, which had started and ended many years before.

The Late Blumer by John Lazarus tells of a Vancouver hippy who has been in a drug-induced coma for seventeen years. He wakes up, shaves and resumes his life following discussions of drugs and the hippies' search for freedom and justice.

The final play, Cakewalk by Colleen Curran, is set at a fair. Four women and a man are waiting to have their cakes judged. One contestant, a nun who is becoming dissatisfied with convent life, finds the answer to her problem with the male contestant, a University of Toronto archeology professor. The other three contestants—a Scout leader, the ex-hippy wife of a restaurant owner, and a mother—all bicker among themselves as they wait for Mme Benoit to judge the cakes.

In all the plays the characterization, dialogue and plot are excellent. The dramatists have caught a vision of honest, decent people struggling with the problems of life and somehow muddling through. Public librarians will wish to add this to their collections.

Louise Griffith, Agincourt, Ont.
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