Caught in the Act: Forty Comic Characters for Readers and Performers


144 pages
ISBN 0-88924-180-5






Reviewed by Ian C. Nelson

Ian C. Nelson is Assistant Director of Libraries at the University of


Although this book bears the subtitle “forty comic characters for readers and performers,” they are presented in the introduction as a delightful alternative for the light contemporary audition piece. The author himself shows a largesse seldom encountered in the land of Samuel French:

Make of these pieces what you will.

What you can —
You bought ‘em.
I say just play them.
Simply do ‘em.

And that is probably the best advice, for the reader, performer and would-be auditioner is very likely, by the tenet of the title, to get “caught in the act” — caught up, that is. Corey Reay has a fine sense of incisive wit and breezy conversation. His style is elliptical, giving the actor wide scope in the precise interpretation of situation and reaction. Perhaps that is just as well, for the range of pieces is not vast stylistically. The subject matter is a shade more varied. The overall impression is that of a Canadian Jules Feiffer. The division of pieces into female, androgynous, and male categories seems curiously unhelpful, as many of the sketches contain surprising twists of relationship and rather determinedly off-centre attitudes. The monologues are a delight to read and will probably give a host of auditioners an enhanced reputation for stand-up comedy.


Reay, Corey, “Caught in the Act: Forty Comic Characters for Readers and Performers,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 13, 2024,