Plays and Players: January 1969  15984

Plays and Players 1968 Awards

  • Best Set: Boris Aronson for Cabaret
  • Best Production: Peter Gill’s direction of the D. H. Lawrence Plays
  • Most Promising Actress: Angela Pleasence in The Ha-ha
  • Most Promising Actor: Barrie Rutter in The Apprentices
  • Best Performance (Actress): Jill Bennett in Time Present
  • Best Performance (Actor): Alec McCowen as Hadrian VII
  • Best New Musical: Cabaret
  • Best New Play: John Osborne The Hotel in Amsterdam
  • Notes on the year, and their votes, from each of the critics
    • Picks from Felix Barker (London Evening News): mentions the departure of the Lord Chamberlain, Blue Comedy, Fortune and Men’s Eyes, Hair, Spitting Image, The Beard, Hochhuth’s Soldiers, Alan Bennett’s 40 Years On, Osborne The Hotel in Amsterdam, Time Present, Franco Colavecchia’s set for Cellini
    • Picks from Ronald Bryden (The Observer): mentions Edward Bond’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Frank Marcus Mrs Mouse, Are You Within?; Alec McCowen in Hadrian VII, Peter Gill’s D. H. Lawrence Trilogy, John Osborne’s Time Present and Hotel in Amsterdam (For the Mean Time); John Arden The Hero Rises Up, the departure of the Lord Chamberlain.
    • Picks from Harold Hobson (The Sunday Times): John Osborne, ‘The RSC has been disputable, and the National Theatre not (unfortunately)’. Oxford Playhouse under Frank Hauser, Nottingham under Stuart Burge. “A want of new dramatists”. Peter Barnes The Ruling Class. “Ian McKellen has confirmed his position of pre-eminence among younger actors”.
    • Philip Hope-Wallace (The Guardian): A poor year
    • Jeremy Kingston (Punch)
    • Herbert Kretzmer (Daily Express): “Hair was not so much a musical as a bandwagon and God knows it wasn’t short of passengers”. The arrival and consoldiation of the off-West End theatre; Mr Marowitz and his colleagues.
    • Peter Lewis (Daily Mail)
    • Frank Marcus (Sunday Telegraph)
    • David Nathan (The Sun)
    • Benedict Nightingale (New Statesman): The unjustly derided The Beard
    • Peter Roberts (plays and Players): “1968 was very much a Stars and Stripes year”, “Difficult to decide whether the National’s autumn productions of Home and Beauty and The Advertisement were vehicles or hearses for the talents …”
    • Milton Shulman (London Evening Standard)
    • Hilary Spurling (Spectator): Peter Brook Oedipus and Brecht Edward II: “suggest that the National Theatre is not entirely indifferent to this new mood of excitement sweeping the contemporary theatre”, RSC richest World Theatre season to date
    • JC Trewin (Illustrated London News): Leonard Rossiter’s Arturo Ui at Edinburgh  [sic]
    • Irving Wardle (The Times)
    • B A Young (Financial Times)
  • New books
    • Robert Donat by JC Trewin
    • The Theatre of Commitment by Eric Bentley
    • Gordon Craig by Edward Craig
    • Bernard Shaw: Our Theatre in the Nineties by Harold Fromm
  • Directors in interview no. 4: Ed Berman (American producer)
  • Review not listed separately:
    • How Pleasant to Know Mr Lear one man-programme on the life and work of Edward Lear by Charles Lewsen at Hampstead Theatre Club
    • There Was A Man one-man programme on Robert Burns, written by Tom Wright, at the Arts: “Unlike so many one-man shows, There Was a Man is almost a good play too.”
  • Green Room (Helen Dawson): Marowitz, Arts Council, British Council setbacks due to Nigerian war

Newsletters from Europe

  • Moscow (Sheridan Morley)
  • Paris (Augy Hayter)
  • Amsterdam (Adrian Brine)


    New York (Review of Theatre in 1968)
    • words by Michael Feingold
    Theatre Between the Wars: 1 – The Classical Stage
    • words by J C Trewin
    God Bless
    • words by Jules Feiffer
    The Boys’ Own Marat/Sade: Martin Esslin reviews 40 Years On (Apollo)
    • words by Martin Esslin
    TV Drama
    • words by John Russell Taylor
    Total items: 5

    Topics covered by this periodical

    1. The Strange Case of Martin Richter (drama) • Review of 1968 Hampstead Theatre Club production directed by Michael Blakemore, starring Leonard Rossiter. Robert Cushman says "the best new play I have had to review in two years".
    2. The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore (drama) • Review by Michael Billington of 1968 production by the Tavistock Repertory Company
    3. Sweet Bird of Youth (drama) • Review by Michael Billington of 1968 production at the Watford Civic
    4. Hadrian VII (drama) • Review of a cast change at the Mermaid Theatre in 1968 (following departure of Alec McCowen), and much talk in 1968 awards overview of it as a highlight of the year.
    5. The Beard (drama) • Review of 1968 Royal Court production, with photos
    6. I Wonder (drama) • Review of 1968 production at the ICA theatre
    7. Close the Coalhouse Door (drama) • Review of 1968 production at the Fortune, from Newcastle Playhouse
    8. The Cocktail Party (drama) • Review of 1968 production, from Chichester, at the Wyndham's with Alec Guinness and Eileen Atkins, photos by Angus McBean
    9. The Ruling Class (drama) • Review of Nottingham Playhouse production in 1968
    10. The Hero Rises Up (drama) • Review of 1968 premiere at the Roundhouse
    11. Look Back In Anger (drama) • review of 1968 revivial at the Royal Court: "From herald of revolution to respected modern classic in thirteen years:
    12. Dear Charles (drama) • review of 1968 production at the Juke of York's, "A rum revival"
    13. Die Plebejer proben den Aufstand (drama) • B A Young (Financial Times) in 1968 awards round-up: "Strictly speaking, the best new play was Günter Grass's The Plebeians Rehearse the Uprising, but no professional company took this on, and it was left to the OTC at Oxford"
    14. Hair (drama) • Herbert Kretzmer (Daily Express reviewer) in 1968 Plays and Players awards round-up: "Hair was not so much a musical as a bandwagon and God knows it wasn't short of passengers, most of them old enough to know better. It was hectoring in its tone, contemptuous of its audiences, an elaborate hoax practised by the young. Its techniques compared, say, to Marat/Sade were positively quaint: and in any case hardly original. The UFO psychedeliriums two years ago had done it all before, and had the added advantage of spontaneity. Of course, it had energy, but since when did energy qualify as art?"
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