Comedies Or Tragedies, Which Are Your Favourite?

Posted on 27 January 2015

Almost everyone is familiar with the comedy and tragedy masks which we use as the symbol for theatre. 

I recently asked one of my friends if he would like to come to see a show with me and he said he only liked the happy ones. This got me thinking about which shows we would class as comedies and which as tragedies. There are, of course some shows that cover both.

If you want to see some jazz hands, as a general rule you need to stick with the comedies like The Book Of Mormon or Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown.

If however, you want to get in touch with your emotional side you should try one of the tragedies like Miss Saigon or Les Miserables. 

Miss Saigon is an epic tragedy that leaves most looking through misty eyes by the end. The story of the leading lady's struggle penetrates the soul deep into the heart and leaves you with a real sense of loss and mourning. 

Les Mis is the classic tragedy. It's title literally translated actually means the miserable ones, but most think it refers to how sad the story is. Nicknamed 'the glums', quite a few of the lead characters meet their demise during the three hours. 

The Book of Mormon doesn't have a tragic note in its repertoire. A hilarious romp from beginning to end, this show should have the smiling mask as part of its logo. 

If you're looking for a good mix of comedy and tragedy on stage, Billy Elliot is one of those misnomers that has comedy in bags full but also contains tragedy. There are some really rib tickling lines and with songs like Michael's 'Expressing Yourself' there are moments of real warmth and joy. 'The Letter', however leaves even the burliest audience member reaching for the tissues. 

Wicked is another show which boasts both. Elphaba even has a now famous line stating that she is 'beautifully tragic'. 

Most shows have to have a bit of both. Even the saddest have their comedy interludes, like the Thenardiers in Les Miserables and the Engineer in Miss Saigon

If I'm watching two shows in a short space of time I try to watch one of each. Too much crying just isn't good for anyone but it is good to be in touch with your emotions. 

It's also lovely to skip into the night on a high note after a rousing comedy dance number. 

By Nicky Sweetland