In this second collection of Michael Frayn's columns from the Manchester Guardian, fings ain't wot they used t'be, as one of...

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NEVER PUT OFF TO GOMORRAH....

In this second collection of Michael Frayn's columns from the Manchester Guardian, fings ain't wot they used t'be, as one of Joan Littlewood's cockney confections has it. True, humorist Frayn is frequently barbed and boils over with all sorts of sassy stunts, skits and satires. But somehow the stage properties are either too localized (all the pieces presuppose some knowledge of the upsidedown social scene in England today), or else they reflect the cabaret-type mugging of beyond the Fringe and This Was The Week That Was, both on the way to becoming great white elephants of clichedom. His Day of the Dog, if memory serves, was far fresher: ess parochial in subject matter and more freewheeling in wacky effect. PR men, politicians and cultural diffusionists sum up the targeted personae, with a few sideshow exotics like Ian Fleming, Kremlinologists, and what appears to be Liz Taylor in a delirious spoof on ""divorcemanship."" One of Frayn's most successful ploys is his penchant for Dickensian names: Christopher Smoothe of the Ministry of Chance and Spec, Mr. and Mrs. Spencer T. Upcreep, Sir Harold Sidewinder, etc. Advertising also goes under the steamroller: ""The faceless men behind consumer research are trying to deprive people of what I call the 5th Freedom, the absolutely fundamental and inalienable right of man to....MAKE A BAD BUY TODAY."" Well, out of the 70-odd specimens, somewhere around a quarter are A-OK. The rest just mild oats wildly sown.

Pub Date: June 18, 1964

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: antheon

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1964