In his dramas, only once (in Der Tag) did Sir James Barrie abandon comedy as his medium of expression. His plays are known for their lighthearted whimsicality and are enjoyed for the elements of farce that even the more serious ones, such as Dear Brutus, contain. The majority of his characters are little more than caricatures, but Barrie nevertheless succeeds in capturing the essence of each, not least because of the careful notes about them that usually form part of the text of a given play. Comedy of character is augmented by verbal humor and a deft handling of the comic situation to put the theme of the play across to the audience with a minimum of effort. The result is that a Barrie play seems light, almost flippant, with the underlying social message only fleetingly apparent. Although the tenor and atmosphere of his plays faithfully reflect the society that filled the theaters when they were first produced, Barrie’s themes and preoccupations are no less relevant today.
Walker, London was Sir James Barrie’s third attempt at writing for the stage, but the first to meet with any real success. The idea for the setting came from a summer Barrie had spent on a houseboat on the Thames, and the play captures the lazy indolence of life moored to the riverbank. It is not by any means an outstanding work but is of interest as an early approach to the question of the relationship between fantasy...
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