Monologues...and More!

Stanley Holloway

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Monologues...and More! Review

by Stewart Mason

Best known to the mainstream audience for his role in My Fair Lady as Eliza's dustman father (his showstopping "Get Me to the Church on Time" is one of the musical's most beloved numbers), Stanley Holloway is nonetheless revered more by the fans of British music hall (roughly equivalent to American vaudeville) for his earlier comic turns as one of the most revered monologuists of the '30s and '40s. The surprising thing is that although these monologues and comic story-songs are very much of their time and place -- working-class England between the wars -- and therefore dependent on a working knowledge of British history and slang, the humor in a tale like "Old Sam's Party" is universal enough that it's not a slog to get to the funny parts. Those used to the post-Goon Show style of absurdist British humor should be aware that this is a gentler style from a much different time, but with a bit of patience and perhaps an online slang dictionary, Monologues...and More! is quite entertaining.

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