An unrivalled unofficial history of the rise – and partial fall – of fringe theatre, Mike Bradwell’s deadpan account of his adventures is one of the funniest and angriest books to come out of theatre today.
As he travels through a counterculture peopled by nutters, chancers, dreamers and prophets, Bradwell makes us marvel at his resilience and creativity, captured in a succession of vivid – and often laugh-out- loud – episodes such as: creating a character with Mike Leigh; enjoying the onstage mass orgasms of The Living Theatre; eating fire with Bob Hoskins; becoming an underwater escapologist (reluctantly) in the Ken Campbell Roadshow; creating Hull Truck; and doing battle with the Health and Safety brigade, the funding bodies and a Polish heavy-metal disco during his ten years running the famous Bush Theatre in West London.
Bradwell is a passionate champion of the alternative as well as an admired and successful director. He makes a compelling – and urgent – case for preserving the true and subversive spirit of theatre from castration at the hands of bankers, consultants, stakeholders, cultural-diversity compliance monitors and the Arts Council.
‘Towards the end of this brilliant account of his epic forty-year journey, Mike tells us, ‘I don’t believe that theatre is safe in the hands of grown-ups’, and it is his healthy, eternal youthfulness that makes the book so inspiring’ Mike Leigh, from his Foreword