THE ANGRY THEATRE: New British Drama by John Russell Taylor

THE ANGRY THEATRE: New British Drama

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Crisp, civilized, candid, John Russell Taylor's survey of the English theatre today, what's new, who's new, and why is the first such study to hit these shores, and though lacking the scapegrace scrutiny of a Bentley or a Tynan, it is still a chock full coverage, a sort of Sears and Roebuck catalogue of the young angries, their playwrights, movements, cliques and themes. Among the notables: fast and furious John Osborne, both commercial and committed; Shelagh Delancy's throwaway fantastics; the gallows' humor and barroom brawls of Brendan Behan: Arnold Wesker's Jewish proletarianism: John Mortimer's genial grotesques, the craftsmanship of Robert Bolt, Peter Shaffer; John Arden's social ambiguities; and, of course, Harold Pinter, the author's golden boy, who- with The Caretaker and elsewhere produced a ruthless poetic realism, a flawless car, masterfully minute observations of the everyday occurrence and a Kafkaesque blend of mirth and melodrama. At any rate, he alone, says critic Taylor, seems the safest sure-to-be-great bet. Influences abound; from Odets and the American thirties to Brecht's alienation artifacts, lonesco's and Beckett's anti drama; while the ""revolt"" battles middle class values, the Establishment, status quo boredom, the lack of communication between people and heroic attitudes. It also was a long overdue reaction against the drawing room ethos of Noel Coward, Terrence Rattigan and London's West End in general, and with Joan Littlewood's Workshop and the Royal Court presentations sought and successfully managed to return the stage to real problems, more representative-of-our-age characters. All this the Taylor book makes clear and comprehensive.

Publisher: Hill & Wang