Phil and humour

Phil relies on humour to:

  • entertain
  • reach out
  • amuse
  • abuse
  • defend

Coping

Humour helps Phil to cope. A key part of this is to take on different voices and personalities. Phil and Spanky often adopt 'posh' voices, first when Hector has his radio confiscated:

quote
Bless my boater, did you catch that, Cherry? A yuletide cadeau for the squirt’s Mater and blow me if old Quelch ain’t went and confiscated the blighter!

Right through to the end of the play, after his disastrous day, Phil still uses his posh voice to view his situation through his sense of humour:

quote
I wonder what the Guv’nor’s got for one’s tea t’night? Plate of jolly fine mince, perhaps? Or a shoulder of lamb to cry on? Best fling the leg over the trike and zip back to Fairyland.

Acting as a privileged character who is very separate from his real daily concerns could be a way for Phil to maintain a distance and protect himself from his problems.

Optimism

At heart, Phil retains a sense of optimism. He has an internal hope that is buried just deep enough under a tough exterior that he doesn’t think others can see it. But it is revealed to the audience, such as when he tries to find a positive in his visit to his mother’s convalescent home:

quote
Two old dears had to get carried up to their rooms with palpitations and a guy with a lavvy-brush moustache wet himself. It was the highspot of the holiday.

Phil's humour may be bleak, but it shows an ability to see the funny side of the most depressing circumstances.