The Admirable Crichton: A Fantasy in Four Acts

by J. M. Barrie

Paperback, 1946






London : Samuel French, 1946.


Once a month, Lord Loam encourages his servants to enter the drawing room for tea. This ritual defiance of tradition disturbs Crichton, the butler, who regards the class system as "the natural outcome of a civilized society." When the entire household is shipwrecked and stranded on a desert island, a new social order emerges ? with comic results for master and servant. This classic English comedy, written by the author of Peter Pan, combines light entertainment with serious undertones concerning the class structure of British society during the early twentieth century. First produced in 1902, the play was adapted for radio and television and has been frequently revived on the stage.

User reviews

LibraryThing member deckla
Firstly, this would be quite difficult to produce, because there are too many characters. Second, there are too many tedious stage directions (yes especially for the acting edition). Third, the trajectory of the play is muddied. Crichton is a proper butler, รก la Downton Abbey. Lord Loam, his master, has a notion that the underclass is just as worthy as the upper class, and has a tea for his servants every month to prove it. Crichton despises this charade. In the second act, however, Loam, his daughters, Crichton and a few more of the household retinue are stranded on a desert island, and because Crichton is the only one who can assure their survival, he becomes the lord of the party. When the party is rescued a few years later, the upstairs denizens, as they return to their previous London roles, no longer entertain ideas of "equality" and Crichton, having proven himself to himself, resigns. What is the point, here? The play certainly doesn't upend the class system--or even challenge it. Drawing room comedies are the worst!… (more)
LibraryThing member mbmackay
A quick return to a play last read at school around 50 years ago. A satire on the topic of class in society - the butler and the Lord trade places when shipwrecked on a Pacific Island, where the butler's abilities allow the group to thrive in the wilderness, followed by some uncomfortable times on return to England. The scenario is clearly dated, but one could imagine an updated version set in society today where rank is not inherited, but where the children of the well off are given a healthy nudge forward in life, compared to their poorer fellow cohort members.… (more)



Page: 0.2628 seconds