"A Night in the Show" contains several inventive pieces of comedy, such as the opening scene where the Pest tries to get a ticket to a concert and he ends up stuck in line behind a statue. However, "A Night in the Show" isn't among Chaplin's best comedies. To find Chaplin at his best, you don't have to look far, though: On this same tape, you'll also find one of Chaplin's all-time best shorts--"The Rink" (1916). It contains several priceless bits of comedy, such as the scene where Chaplin plays a waiter who determines a customer's bill by tallying all the different stains on the customer's shirt. Both of these comedies have previously been available from Kino in their "Early Films of Charlie Chaplin" set. Some people might consider their inclusion here as superfluous, but one of the virtues of this set is its completeness: it provides the best overview of slapstick comedy ever presented on video.
In addition, this volume contains a piece of Chaplin footage never included on any other video, a rare snippet where Chaplin comically conducts an orchestra at a New York fund-raiser.
In addition to the Chaplin material, "Chaplin & Co.: The Music Hall Tradition" includes several additional shorts, including two by Chaplin imitators--Billie Ritchie and Billy West. Ritchie, who was well-established in music halls in the early 1900s, claimed that Chaplin stole material from him. In "Live Wires and Love Sparks" (1916), he stars as a "telephone worker blessed with a large family and a small income." Directed by Charles Parrott (otherwise known as comedian Charley Chase), "He's In Again" (1918) stars Billy West as a bum who tries to sneak into a dance hall/restaurant while Oliver Hardy plays the waiter who consistently throws him out.
Also on this video, you'll find Stan Laurel in "Pie-Eyed" (1925). Before he joined forces with Oliver Hardy, Stan Laurel was Chaplin's own music hall understudy. In "Pie-Eyed," he plays another version of the drunk character that Chaplin created in "A Night in the Show." And in "Only Me" (1929), Lupino Lane (a veteran of British music halls) one-ups Chaplin while assuming the drunk routine from "A Night in the Show" by playing a multitude of characters: he plays the ticket seller, the conductor, a flutist, a female dancer, a baby in a crib, and several other characters.