‘Post Early for Christmas’ by R. H. Wood is a hilarious play that brims with funny characters, humorous situations and witty dialogues. The title seems to be a warning to the people who hurry at the last minute to send Christmas presents to their dear and near ones. Through an interesting series of events that take place in a post office, the play shows how the last-minute hustle and bustle creates commotion everywhere and finally ends in spoiling a present.
The play opens with the assistant’s description of the utter senselessness of people who come to the post office. Soon funny people begin to pour in. But she never loses temper even with arrogant customers. The first customer, Mrs. Smith, has rheumatism and doesn’t seem to like her comment on the weather. Then Mrs. Jones, a rude woman, comes and responds harshly to the assistant’s advice to post early for Christmas. Then a fussy old lady who comes seeking medical advice for her cat thinking that it is a veterinary hospital creates a roar of laughter.
Then an old gentleman comes to the post office for his old-age pension. He is a very funny character who doesn’t recognise that he is partially deaf. He mishears everything that the poor assistant says and shouts at her, thinking that she is pulling his legs. The audience cannot but laugh when he dares to tell the assistant that she is a bit deaf. But the assistant responds in a polite, well-mannered way.
The conversation between Mrs. Higgins and her son Bertie adds flavour to the play. Bertie is as curious as a monkey and stares at everyone and everything. His terrible grammar and pronunciation are high spots of humour in the play. When his mother asks him about it, he mistakes ‘grammar’ for ‘grandma’ and tells her that she’s at home watching TV.
The farmer, a customer in the post office, gives news about a time bomb that has been discovered in a post office in London. He has only half-baked knowledge about the time bomb, but he creates terror in the minds of everyone. When they hear a ticking sound from the parcel given by a tourist, the farmer diagnoses that it is a time bomb. They call a policeman for help.
Meanwhile, people try to deactivate the bomb and the policeman is about to throw the parcel into a bucket of water. The tourist, who re-enters the scene to take his forgotten glows back, begs not to do so as it a special parcel. This makes them all the more suspicious and the policeman throws it into water. The tourist then discloses that it is a special dock for his friend. He gets angry with the employees in the post office for ruining his parcel and decides to inform the post master general.
The sight of the sinister looking tourist lifting the damaged clock from the bucket and revealing that it was only a present is funny and pathetic at the same time. In the end, the assistant leaves the post office for good to take up a job in the animal dispensary. When she says that animals don’t do such silly things, we cannot but agree with her.