The best of Kenneth Tynan’s theatre criticism, selected and edited by his biographer Dominic Shellard – with a foreword by Tom Stoppard.
This volume is an edited selection of theatre criticism by one of the most significant and influential writers on British theatre. Spanning the years 1944 to 1965, it includes all of Tynan’s major theatre reviews and articles written for the Evening Standard, the Daily Sketch and the Observer.
It also includes the text of his substantial 1964 speech to the Royal Society of Arts, setting out his vision for the National Theatre.
Tynan’s writings on theatre, according to eminent theatre historian Dominic Shellard, influenced the evolution of the whole of post-war theatre in Britain. And, with their characteristic mix of hyperbole, irreverence and prescience, they remain brilliantly entertaining today.
‘You can open this book on almost any page and come across a phrase or a vignette which is the next best thing to having been there’ Tom Stoppard, from his Foreword
‘A clutch of Kenneth Tynan’s reviews are worth more than a hundredweight of almost anyone else’s. This volume, edited by his biographer, stamped with Tom Stoppard’s approval in the foreword, contains all the classics’
— Sunday Times, Books of the Year
‘Tynan was unique in that he combined the soul of an artist with the descriptive skill of a journalist. His style, blending voluptuous ease with verbal precision, was a constant instrument of pleasure’
‘One can only wonder why Tynan’s theatre criticism, the crowning achievement of his professional life, has until now been mouldering out of print… His reviews aren’t just a brilliant record of this or that production; as Tom Stoppard writes in a generous foreword, they stand “in lieu of an autobiography, the adventures of someone who happened to care very much about the theatre.” … To read Tynan is to be thrilled into paying better and closer attention – which, in short, is the point of criticism in the first place’
— Daily Telegraph
‘A sentence from him is worth a book from all the rest’
— Time Out