ⓘ Comedy of menace


ⓘ Comedy of menace

Comedy of menace is the body of plays written by David Campton, Nigel Dennis, N. F. Simpson, and Harold Pinter. The term was coined by drama critic Irving Wardle, who borrowed it from the subtitle of Camptons play The Lunatic View: A Comedy of Menace, in reviewing Pinters and Camptons plays in Encore in 1958.


1. Background

Citing Wardles original publications in Encore magazine 1958, Susan Hollis Merritt points out that in "Comedy of Menace" Wardle "first applies this label to Pinters work … describ Dukore calls the play a comedy of menace or otherwise … Merritt 10.


2. Selected examples from Pinters plays and sketches

The Birthday Party 1958

In discussing the first production of Pinters first full-length play, The Birthday Party 1958, which followed his first play, The Room 1957, his authorised official biographer Michael Billington points out that Wardle "once excellently" described its setting paraphrasing Wardle, as "a banal living-room

"Apart From That" 5–6