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BENEDICT NIGHTINGALE was the Guardian’s northern theatre critic, the New Statesman’s theatre critic, the New York Times’ Sunday theatre critic and, from 1990 to 2010, the Times’ chief theatre critic during a period widely acknowledged to be as productive and exciting as any in theatrical history.

Great Moments in the Theatre
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Great Moments in the Theatre

Benedict Nightingale

Starting with the first performance of Sophocles’s Oedipus Rex on an Athenian hillside in 429 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 The Government Inspector to Ian McKellen's 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. 


Oberon Books, UK | 978-1-84943-233-7 | Sales: Australia/NZ only | PB