Played in Britain- Modern Theatre in 100 PlaysPlayed in Britain - Modern Theatre in 100 Plays (Bloomsbury H/B. 2013) by Kate Dorney & Frances Gray is a beautiful book. The authors have chosen 100 plays - starting with J.B. Priestley’s AN INSPECTOR CALLS (1945) and ending with Laura Wade’s POSH (2010) - which they consider outstanding, influential and significant. Each play is discussed on a two-page spread copiously illustrated with pictures of the first production. For a committed playgoer like me who saw many of these plays in their original productions it was a wonderful and nostalgic read. I worked through it slowly. If anyone has doubts about the brilliance of British Theatre – and playwriting - this book ought to dispel them. The authors could have chosen a different 100 and still have had a staggeringly impressive list. Among the plays included are: THE LADY’S NOT FOR BURNING (Fry), THE COCKTAIL PARTY (TS Eliot), A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (Williams), WAITING FOR GODOT(Beckett), LOOK BACK IN ANGER (Osborne), A TASTE OF HONEY (Delaney), CHIPS WITH EVERYTHING (Wesker), OH WHAT A LOVELY WAR, THE HOMECOMING (Pinter), SAVED (Bond), ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD (Stoppard), FORTY YEARS ON (Bennett), WHAT THE BUTLER SAW (Orton), NO MAN’S LAND (Pinter), COMEDIANS (Griffiths), ABIGAIL’S PARTY (Leigh), AMADEUS (Shaffer), THE ROMANS IN BRITAIN (Brenton), TOP GIRLS (Churchill), PRAVDA (Hare), GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS (Mamet), BOUNCERS (John Godber), ROAD (Cartwright), MY NIGHT WITH REG (Elyot), ANGELS IN AMERICA (Kushner), SHOPPING AND F,,,KING (Ravenhill), BLASTED (Kane), COPENHAGEN (Frayn), BLUE/ORANGE (Penhall), THE HISTORY BOYS (Bennett), ARCADIA (Stoppard), JERUSALEM (Butterworth), BEAUTIFUL THING (Harvey)......
That’s just 32 out of the 100. Wow! I’m gobsmacked at how wonderful that list is. But I would have chosen Wesker’s ROOTS before his CHIPS WITH EVERYTHING. And what about Alan Ayckbourn’s brilliant ABSURD PERSON SINGULAR? And Michael Frayn’s NOISES OFF? Bennett's HABEAS CORPUS? And ..and.......This is a list for playlovers to argue about. Endlessly...
Tom Stoppard's 'Arcadia'.
Edward Bond's 'Saved'