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Voyager (Andover)

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BU21 (NHB Modern Plays)
BU21 (NHB Modern Plays)
by Stuart Slade
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine, gripping, eye-opening play, 18 Jan. 2017
Many of the reviews say how funny the play is. I didn't find it so, but that is no criticism. It is so powerful, so conscious of the trivial detail that accompanies even tragedies that I wonder whether laughter is an escape from the horror. As the author reads the reviews, I'll probably be told off for this, but it is meant as a compliment.

Not cosy entertainment, as Alex reminds the audience, nor even cosily dark as Martin MacDonagh is, but a fine, gripping, eye-opening play well worth seeing and reading.


Theatre: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Theatre: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
by Marvin Carlson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

2.0 out of 5 stars Tries to do too much, 26 Aug. 2016
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Tried to do too many things and ended up doing none of them well. The first sixty pages is a history of world theatre - impossible to do adequately in that space. This was the main reason I bought the book, hence my disappointment. It then moves on to theatre theory. Finally it looks at those who make theatre. So keen is he to get away from the literary tradition of theatre that he doesn't cover the writer at all. It is as if he imagines the writer drops the script off and takes no further part in the process. That's not how theatre works and never has been.


Firebird (NHB Modern Plays)
Firebird (NHB Modern Plays)
by Phil Davies
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for people who read plays, 13 Mar. 2016
A fine play (supported by The Childrens Society) on a harrowing subject. The central character Tia is particularly well drawn - a problemkid who is difficult to like but has a lot that is likeable about her if anyone could be bothered . Not for the squeamish, but should be seen or read by anyone interested in modern theatre or marginalised young people..


Lungs (Oberon Modern Plays)
Lungs (Oberon Modern Plays)
by Duncan Macmillan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars I saw this on stage last night and bought the ..., 28 Aug. 2014
I saw this on stage last night and bought the script at the theatre. It is witty, fast paced (though he knows when to slow it right down) and sometimes unbearably moving, performed on a bare set with little physical action so that the words have to do the work.

A lot of people would say plays are meant to be seen rather than read, but this is a must read for anyone who writes dialogue. Macmillan has a superb ear of the rhythm of speech. The opening overlapping duologue, the two page single sentence monologue following on - open it anywhere and you've a masterclass. I wish I'd written it.


Witch Hunt: The History of a Persecution
Witch Hunt: The History of a Persecution
Price: £0.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unreliable, 18 Feb. 2014
As previous reviewers have said, the book is a magpie collection of witch trials without any comment to give perspective. It claims to be from contemporary accounts, but includes the C14 Toulouse and Carcassone witch trials, which were proved 40 years ago to be C19 fiction. The author's reading list is mainly books from before 1970. He seems unaware that contemporary accounts were often propaganda or sensationalism that grossly overstate the number of executions.

He is not above a bit of sensationalism himself. Several pages are devoted to the impossibility of escaping the Spanish Inquisition once accused and the grim fate that resulted. Later in the chapter we are told, correctly, that the Inquisition acquitted most witches and was active in stopping witch hunts.


Murder in Byzantium: A Novel
Murder in Byzantium: A Novel
by Julia Kristeva
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £67.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't give up the day job, Julia, 1 Sept. 2012
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Forget any comparisons with Eco. This is amateurish. Kristeva shows little interest in her cardboard characters or the thin plot. Her attempts to drive up suspense are feeble. Her heroine meets with a gang boss. 'I'll be lucky to get out of this alive,' she tells us. Nothing happens. She walks out of the door, no problem.

Half the book is taken up with expounding ideas. The problem is that they don't grow out of the story, or have much relevance to it. The result the story disrupts the philosophy and the philosophy breaks up the story. If you're interested in her ideas, her non-fiction is a much better bet.

The translator has no grasp of colloquial English. For example, the 'non?' that the French use to end sentences that imply a question becomes 'no', instead of 'don't you think?' or 'Isn't it?'. Columbia University Press should be ashamed of themselves.


Shakespeare's Wife
Shakespeare's Wife
by Dr. Germaine Greer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too much padding, 1 Sept. 2012
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This review is from: Shakespeare's Wife (Paperback)
Greer successfully demonstrates that many of the assumptions about Anne are scholarly prejudice. Unfortunately, this takes only a small proportion of the book, even allowing for her introducing prejudices of her own. For example, in her widowhood Anne preferred the jolly household of her younger daughter, Judith, to that of her sober elder daughter, Susanna. This is guesswork - there is no evidence Anne had any preference, that Judith was jolly, or Susanna was sober.

The rest of the book is padded out with undigested slabs of social history. In the Hathaway family background, we are given three pages on the earnings of a playwright who may have been the same person as someone who may have been related to Anne. No attempt is made to link this to what Will might have earned later in the book. At times I felt sections of the book were there because Greer knew the facts, rather than because they had any bearing on the subject.

This is an essay padded out to book length. Germaine Greer has written better books.


The Making Of The Middle Ages
The Making Of The Middle Ages
by R W Southern
Edition: Paperback

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to write history, 1 Sept. 2012
This a delight to read. Incidents and individuals, many of minor importance, are used to illustrate the changes taking place, so we are always conscious that history is about real people.

Readers younger than me might find his style over formal, but he is always clear. Occasionally, it shows its age. For example, his comparison of monks with the army no longer holds now that there is no national service.

Be aware, though, that this is not meant as an introduction. It does assume that you have a basic knowledge of the Medieval History of Europe. If you don't know who Hildebrand is, you'll probably struggle.


The Waning of the Renaissance, 1550-1640 (Yale Intellectual History of the West)
The Waning of the Renaissance, 1550-1640 (Yale Intellectual History of the West)
by Wj Bouwsma
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £35.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A portrait of an age, not individuals, 1 Sept. 2012
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This is a book about the way people thought, rather than a history of individual thinkers. The author focuses on key trends and shows how they are reflected in the writers and thinkers of the period.

The disadvantage of this approach is that it leaves no clear idea of how, for example, the ideas of Montaigne differed from those of Bacon. On the other hand, books that do this pass over what they have in common.

If you want to understand individual thinkers, this is not the book for you. If you want to understand the age, this is essential reading. It does at times have a breathless quality, but it makes its points clearly and is better written than its companion volumes in the series.


A Blues For Shindig
A Blues For Shindig
by Mo Foster
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A journey to another world, 16 July 2006
This review is from: A Blues For Shindig (Paperback)
Soho in the 1950's. Shindig is 19 and barmaid of an illegal drinking club, popular with the sort of scruffy gangster who would never make Hollywood. Her spare time is taken up with sex, drugs and general dabbling on the wrong side of the law. Very streetwise is Shindig - or so she thinks until she finds out there are bigger games being played in Soho and she has become one of the cards.

This is a journey to another world, brought vividly to life with a sure sense of place and atmosphere, and peopled by a cast of characters that would last many writers half a dozen books at least. And what a guide Shindig makes - warm, wryly humorous, subversive, eternally curious and touchingly naive.

Some books are good, some books are different. This is one that is good and different. Highly recommended.


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