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'A magnificently readable tour of theatrical history conducted by our best-informed living critic.' - Michael Billington
'Benedict Nightingale's characteristically witty, insightful and enthusiastic reports make you wish you'd been sitting next to him during his greatest moments in the theatre.' – Ian McKellen
Starting with the first performance of Aeschylus' The Oresteia in 458 BC, ending with the premiere of Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem in London of 2009 AD, Benedict Nightingale collects in one volume what he believes to be the greatest moments in theatre.
Each informative and entertaining entry is between 650 and 850 words in length, covering a remarkable diversity of theatrical openings and events, many of historical interest and importance, and many more witnessed by Nightingale himself during his 50‐year reviewing career. The plays and shows that Nightingale crisply, authoritatively and readably brings alive range from Sheridan’s School for Scandal to Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, from Gogol’s Government Inspector to the Ian McKellen Macbeth, from Synge’s Playboy of the Western World, which provoked serious riots in the Dublin of 1907, to Lionel Bart’s Twang!! in 1965, possibly the most disastrous musical ever.
Throughout the book Nightingale celebrates leading dramatists and performers, directors and composers. Everywhere he shares the fulfilment and fun he has found in the art‐form he loves.