This play was Arnold Wesker’s first popular work, although his previous plays had enjoyed considerable artistic success. Like all of his plays, CHIPS WITH EVERYTHING delineates an aspect of contemporary society, not stopping at pointing out faults, but going on to point toward solutions. Wesker’s drama is, in fact, an extension of a general concern with social causes, and his identification with those causes is as strong on the stage as it is off.
Wesker also continues his interest in the psychology of the individual character in CHIPS WITH EVERYTHING. At first the play seems to be without a plot. A group of recruits meet at a training camp and several episodes occur which have some comic or dramatic interest as episodes: Corporal Hill plays the stereotyped drill sergeant; the recruits have their first drill lesson during which it is discovered that Smiler is physically unable to stop smiling; the various officers introduce themselves and in doing so reveal their individual perversions; Pip Thompson tells the history of his distinguished family; there is a Christmas party which degenerates into a fight and a confrontation between Pip and the officers; and Pip organizes and directs a very funny sequence in which the recruits steal some coal from the camp’s central supply. However, there is little apparent connection between these events except that the same people are involved in each before the second act.
In the second...
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