Not Quite the Classics

Not Quite the Classics - Colin Mochrie Colin Mochrie is best known for being a master of improvisational comedy. By his own admission he went into improv because he does not like to work; “One of the reasons I became an improvisor was so that my workload would be light. I don’t have to learn lines or go for wardrobe fittings … I just need a stage and someone to work with”. When encouraged to write a book – he balked – after all how can you translate improv into the written word and it sounded like a lot of work. Unrelenting, he was challenged to write a book of short stories, taking the first line and the last line of classic works of literature and inventing a new story that fits between. The challenge was taken resulting in Not Quite the Classics and in my opinion the challenge was well met.

With his undeniable comedic talent and his slightly off-beat sense of humor Mr. Mochrie has taken 12 well known classics and transformed them into entertaining works of humor. Although he in no way stays true to the setting, the story, or even the characters I was impressed with how he managed to maintain the feel of the original through language and dialogue.

Whether it was Sherlock Holmes trying to learn stand-up comedy in “A Study in Ha-Ha” (A Study in Scarlett), finally getting the history behind the coyote and the roadrunner in “A Tale of Two Critters” (A Tale of Two Cities) or reworking both “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and “Casey At The Bat” this book had me giggling, groaning and laughing out loud.

Obviously, never taking himself too seriously, the pictures of Mr. Mochrie in full costume as the main character at the beginning of each rework made me chuckle before I even started reading. Well done … I hope there might be another one coming with even more first-line/last-line reworks.