Animal Crackers Critique

Topics: Theatre, Improvisational theatre, Comedy Pages: 2 (582 words) Published: January 24, 2013
"Animal Crackers" Critique

Animal Crackers is a musical that stars "Groucho", as explorer Captain Jeffrey T. Spaulding, attending a party in his honor at the estate of society matron Mrs. Rittenhouse. While he is there, a valuable painting is stolen and he ends up investigating the theft of this painting during the party. The bulk of the play, however, consists of improvisation, one liner jokes and word play, and constant demolition of the fourth wall. The production succeeds in combining improvisational comedy with a storyline through use of sets, acting, and connection with the audience.

In Animal Crackers, the actors constantly engaged the audience into the musical by repeatedly breaking the fourth wall; so much so that you might even forget there was a fourth wall to begin with. Throughout the play, there were a couple times when an actor on stage would mess up, and instead of ignoring it for the sake of the play, an actor on stage would make a bigger deal out of it just for another laugh. For example there was a scene where one of the actors said the wrong name in one of his lines, so the other actor on stage grabbed a playbill from the audience and read through it in order to get the names correct. There were also many other times during the play where the actors "took a break" from the plot and dedicated many scenes to audience involvement. Such as throwing a beach ball into the audience and getting it from one side to the other, or even having the three main characters literally climb through the audience and looking through Max's wallet and taking a dollar from Bethany.

The acting in Animal Crackers varied greatly from the acting required in other plays and musicals. Because of the style of comedy provided in the production, the actors had to be very experienced in improvisation and comedic acting. The also had to be very comfortable with interacting with the audience. As an audience member, you feel like the play is based solely on the...
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