"It seems a long way from Moliere to Ray Cooney. There are immense distances between the worlds of Aristophanes, Plautus, Georges Feydeau, Ben Travers, Joe Orton and Basil Fawlty. But as one of the oldest genres in the history of the theatre, farce bridges the gaps by generating gales of helpless belly laughter across the generations. Inspired by John Mortimer's observation that farce is 'tragedy played at a thousand revolutions a minute',Roger Foss embarks on a lightning tour of the rib-tickling world of confused characters, absurd situations, ruined reputations, sexual innuendo and bravura comic acting and fi nds out if farce really is a force to be reckoned with in the 21st century. The great creators and performers of farce are celebrated, most notably master farceur Ray Cooney, who celebrates his 80th birthday in 2012, in essays that will inform and entertain both the aficionado and anyone with a sense of humour."