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The Underpants

3.62  ·  Rating Details  ·  422 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
Theobald Maske has an unusual problem: his wife's underpants won't stay on. One Sunday morning they fall to her ankles right in the middle of town--a public scandal! Mortified, Theo swears to keep her at home until she can find some less unruly undies. Amid this chaos he's trying to rent a room in their flat. The prospective lodgers have some underlying surprises of their ...more
Paperback, 152 pages
Published November 20th 2002 by Hachette Books
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Shopgirl by Steve MartinThe Jerk by Steve MartinCruel Shoes by Steve MartinPicasso at the Lapin Agile and Other Plays by Steve MartinL.A. Story and Roxanne by Steve Martin
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9th out of 17 books — 1 voter
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85th out of 91 books — 62 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 903)
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May 01, 2012 Marsha rated it it was amazing
Originally an unknown German play and re-written by Steve Martin into something that’s actually funny, this farce is a wild and wacky look into the world of a childless couple, their lives turned upside down by the timely dropping of the wife’s underpants. Was it an accident? An act of God? Or did her libido decide to take action after a year of sexual inactivity from her husband?

At once wise, witty and bawdy, the audience is taken on a ride by people whose lives are caught in a whirlwind of de
Apr 10, 2008 Joni rated it liked it
Shelves: plays
I thought this fluffy farce was a very pleasant and funny read. I would love to be in this play or see a production of it. Good find Melody!
Jack Goodstein
Sep 08, 2010 Jack Goodstein rated it it was ok
Shelves: plays
Kind of one joke play with a lot of wink and nod sex jokes.
John Bruni
Apr 07, 2014 John Bruni rated it it was amazing
This one's a quick read. It's the story of Louise, who one day accidentally loses her panties in public during a parade. Her husband Theo thinks she's acting like a slut and thinks this will ruin him. Two men come slavering to their doorstep to rent a room with them, but they really want to have a chance at laying Louise. It's a very interesting look at sex, but more so, it's a hilarious gut-shot to the concept of fame. I'm not familiar with Sternheim's original play, but Martin's adaptation is ...more
Richard Downey
Sep 15, 2015 Richard Downey rated it it was amazing
Steve Martin is brilliant! I've been a fan since the wild and crazy guy days but he has grown into one of the most insightful humorists around whether it's in films as an actor and screenwriter or as an acclaimed author of books and plays. The Underpants is an update of an old German play by Carl Sternheim in which a woman standing on her balcony while the King's procession is passing by, has her underpants fall down. She's not too worried because she thinks everyone will be watching the King. N ...more
P.M. Bradshaw
Aug 21, 2012 P.M. Bradshaw rated it it was ok
The Underpants is a 1910 play written by Carl Sternheim. Mr. Martin has re-written it in an attempt to turn it from a farce into a broad comedy. I saw it performed in 2011 at the Beck Center for the Arts, and I then I read it, also.

While the play is amusing at first, it grows tiresome. The (somewhat) sexual escapades of bored housewife, Louise, quickly take on the likeness of a wacky episode of “Three’s Company.” But without John Ritter’s pratfalls, the jokes begin to fall flat, and the play dr
Colleen Venable
Apr 16, 2007 Colleen Venable rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays
If you ever want something to remind you that under all of those piles and piles of bad movies Steve Martin IS truly brilliant you must read this amazing translation. Martin was able to take a dated play and make it new, while still retaining the historic and international feel. A truly feminist work before feminism was in fashion, it's the story of a woman, her idiot husband, noisy neighbor, numerous suitors, and the power of a pair of a saggy (tied with a string) underpants. This had me shakin ...more
Kathy Worrell  ツ
Jul 17, 2014 Kathy Worrell ツ rated it liked it
3.5 stars.
This play was originally written in 1910. Steve Martin adds his own flair and republishes it in 2002. I enjoyed this laugh-out-loud farce; it was a fun and entertaining read.

I would definitely love to see this as a play.
Feb 20, 2016 Thezoo232 rated it liked it
This is an odd little play. Moves quickly with some funny moments; but lacks substance to be called a great comedy to me. I do think Actors can have fun with it.
Feb 11, 2014 Emily rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
one of the best plays I've read in a while :-) Off-color, but hilarious!
Jul 06, 2008 Kevin rated it liked it
I read this on the recommendation of someone who had heard of it but hadn't actually read it herself. I feel it's supposed to be played in a fairly absurdist, "yes the actors and director are in on how weird the setup is," kind of delivery. However, once you get past the rapid-fire arrival of room renters and free-roaming monarchy, you find yourself learning a lesson from each character in the play and realizing that not everything happening at this moment is necessarily as big as it might seem ...more
Jan 11, 2016 Jeff rated it liked it
Supremely silly but smart as well.
Apr 22, 2015 Marci rated it it was amazing
Yay! Our next production!
Oct 01, 2012 Daniel rated it it was ok
Shelves: plays, theatre
I was surprised at how overt this play is. There is no subtlety, no lead-up to plot. We are told (such a major no-no), very quickly, about what has happened and what the results will likely be, and then we are shown those results. In this sense, it really is such a weak play. I'm confident that if it weren't (re)written by Steve Martin, this play would struggle to ever get a performance.

Certainly, I chuckled. Visually, it was easy to imagine. But beyond this, there is nothing to recommend this p
Tammi Drevers
Sep 15, 2015 Tammi Drevers rated it it was amazing
This book was quite funny.
melody mooney
Feb 07, 2008 melody mooney rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays
I loved this Play. Steve Martin adapted this story about Underpants or the lack there of from 1910 to make it just as relevant to today's reader. It's funny and quick and only one act. It made me laugh to think about the power of panties or missing panties and my mind went right to the Paris and Britney set. I am hoping our Theatre group will like it too and maybe we can put it up!
Oct 03, 2010 Travis rated it it was ok
My friend lent me this book. It was funny, but I was a little disappointed with the amount of crass innuendo. But, I guess I should have figured such would be the case - considering the source. Oh well. It did give me a chuckle, and was pretty clever in places. Overall, however, I felt it was somewhat flat as far as plays go.
Nov 13, 2011 Beth rated it liked it
For some reason, I did not realize that this book was a play It did make for a quick fun read I would really like to see this play acted out. I could image the play as I was reading it. I enjoy Steve Martin's work and, although this was merely adapted by him, I could still see his humor through it.
Feb 19, 2012 Drew rated it liked it
A fun, if not truly farcical, farce. Steve Martin's adaptation is funny and smart, moving with speed but never quite taking flight. I think it'd be funnier on stage, to be honest. Still, it's a quick read and an engaging enough one for a Sunday brunch.
Apr 13, 2013 Kaitlin rated it really liked it
I love Steve Martin. Like, everything he does. This isn't my favorite book of his (that's The Pleasure of My Company), but it's funny and unique.
Sep 06, 2012 Connie rated it liked it
Hilarious. I don't know that I've ever sat down and read a play before (except those canonized in litereature anthologies). This one takes about an hour to read and is delightfully baudy and just-my-kind-of-lewd. Steve Martin, I've underestimated you.
Apr 09, 2008 Louise rated it liked it
This was recommended to me by my friend Melody for our theatre company. Its a light, fun adaptation by Steve Martin. It's a comedic, almost farcical play that would make an enjoyabe evening of entertainment in the theatre...
Jan 06, 2011 Amber rated it it was amazing
I saw a production of this years ago, and have been wanting to read the stage play since. David put this in my stocking for me. =D It was a quick read, but a funny one. Definitely want to see it again.
Jul 16, 2008 Brittany rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: thesbians
I have not READ this play, but I saw it performed numerous times by one of my teammates in a competitive acting group I took part in. She was brilliant, so the play is brilliant.
Jul 20, 2007 Effobee rated it it was amazing
I had this book confused with another book. I'm glad I finally got to reading it. It was a totally short read and a fun little story. Steve Martin is pretty good at this stuff.
Mar 30, 2009 Carolyn rated it it was ok
Shelves: theatre
I did not find this play "laugh out loud funny" as the review on the cover describes. The innuendo is worse than any Mel Brooks film, inducing yawns and groans rather than giggles.
Sep 15, 2009 Charlotte rated it it was amazing
Actually I didn't read this, I saw it performed years ago at Interplayers in Spokane. But it's so so very wonderful that everyone should read it if they can't see it live.
Mar 26, 2009 Leslie rated it liked it
Cute. Easy & QUICK read b/c it's a play. But leave it to Steve Martin to add the sexual inneundos! (then again, that's pretty much the premise of the whole play)
Jul 11, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it
Love Steve Martin but not my favorite. It makes some really good commentary on life before WWI, goes for the laugh, but it didn't win me over the way The Shopgirl did.
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Stephen Glenn "Steve" Martin is an American actor, comedian, writer, playwright, producer, musician, and composer. He was raised in Southern California in a Baptist family, where his early influences were working at Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm and working magic and comedy acts at these and other smaller venues in the area. His ascent to fame picked up when he became a writer for the Smothers ...more
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