Larry Gelbart Clive Barnes - Essay

Clive Barnes

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Be warned. A man might die laughing at "Sly Fox." What Larry Gelbart once helped do for Plautus in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," he has now done for Ben Jonson in "Sly Fox."… Mr. Gelbart has resuscitated the great Elizabethan, modernized him, given him a new set of clothes and married him off to the old traditions of American vaudeville.

There is little point in comparing Mr. Jonson with Mr. Gelbart; the original play, "Volpone," is immeasurably the finer. But Broadway audiences will immeasurably prefer Mr. Gelbart. Also, in modern terms, Mr. Gelbart is the funnier. He is very funny, in a manner, interestingly, that is both cheap and subtle. The details of his humor are...

(The entire section is 448 words.)