Arms and the Man
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Humor, rather than romance, abounds in this audio play performed in front of a live audience. From its Who’s on FirstâmeetsâShakespeare introduction to its surprising and irrelevant ending, Romance will leave listeners laughing uproariously at the running gags, outrageous language and amusing tangents. Fred Willard as a befuddled, overmedicated and pontificating judge hosts this kangaroo court of love affairs, foreign affairs and bigotry so blatant that it would be appalling if it wasn’t so satirical. The defendant has discovered the key to peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but unless he can get court to adjourn, his plans will be wasted. The small but talented cast (including Noah Bean, Ed Begley Jr., Gordon Clapp, Steven Goldstein, Rod McLachlan and Rob Nagle) possess perfect timing and delivery. While the gross and vulgar language may scare some listeners away, its nonchalant execution dissolves its venom and infuses humor. Dirty and delicious, listeners will find this audiobook ending sooner than they will desire. (May)
In the opening scene of Arms and the Man, which establishes the play’s embattled Balkan setting, young Raina learns of her suitor’s heroic exploits in combat. She rhapsodizes that it is “a glorious world for women who can see its glory and men who can act its romance!” Soon, however, such romantic falsifications of love and warfare are brilliantly and at times hilariously unmasked in a comedy that reveals George Bernard Shaw at his best as an acute social observer and witty provocateur.
First produced on the London stage in 1894, Arms and the Man continues to be among the most performed of Shawâs plays around the world. The play is reprinted in its entirety here from an authoritative British edition, and is complete with Shaw’s stimulating preface to Volume II of Plays: Pleasant and Unpleasant.
Pickup and return point: Elyon Computech, #1 Alarape street, New garage bus stop (opposite the 2nd traffic light), Gbagada, Lagos