Affair of the Heart

Michael Billington


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Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
21 October 2021
ISBN: 9781350214774
344 pages

From the publisher

A book of selected theatre reviews from 1992 to 2020 from one of the foremost authorities on British theatre. Starting each chapter is a brief commentary on the developments of that era and the social, political and cultural context within which this theatre was being produced. Also included are key obituaries and letters in response to reviews written, providing a rich collection of curated archival material. Following on from his first collection, One Night Stands, Michael Billington's chronicle offers a rich, authoritative insight into British theatre over the last 3 decades from his unique professional perspective. It begins with Tony Kushner's UK premiere of Angels in America at the National Theatre in 1992 and culminates with Inua Ellams's celebrated adaptation of Chekhov's Three Sisters at the same venue almost 30 years later. En route, we're exposed to the fallibility of theatre criticism through his much-regretted original criticism of Sarah Kane's Blasted and its role in identifying major talents at the first opportunity. Having recently retired from his 48-year position as the Guardian newspaper's drama critic during which time he wrote around 10,000 theatre reviews, Michael Billiington was Britain's longest-serving theatre critic. Through his work, he was present at an eye-watering number of premieres during this time and witnessed first-hand the exciting developments in British theatre over the past 30 years and the substantial pressures it faced - never more so than today.