THE NIGHT HAS BEEN UNRULY, by J. C. Trewin (Hale 21s.).
MR. J. C. TREWIN is the most amiable critic in the English theatre, a man in love with the stage. The excellent sketch, by Mr. Ronald Searle, that adorns the jacket of this book is wrong in one vital respect. Mr. Trewin never leans back in his stall ; he sits on the edge of the scat and gazes wide-eyed at the actors. He enjoys the show, seeing it as something of a mystery, although one should point out that he refuses to he mystified by the Brechtian and other sects who would reduce the playhouse to something like a secret society endlessly performing funny little rites of their own before a god to which they are prepared to sacrifice living audiences.
1 have suspected for some time that when the curtain falls and Mrs. Trewin leads her spouse home he rushes up to the attic, or into his study, and reads theatre lore. with intervals for meals, until the next curtain rises for his amusement. This delightful book supports my theory. It is a record of occasions and plays that were more theatrical than dramatic, in a word. dotty rather than moving in the Aristotelian sense, He introduces the reader to Young Roscius, to Master Betty, the child prodigy of Shakespearean acting, and to the author of Young England, and his audiences, nearer our own time, he takes us to Garrick's fantastic Shakespeare Jubilee at Stratford, to that pathetic production at the St. James' of Henry James's " Guy Doraville " and to many occasions when the night itself was entertaining and the play was not. His hook is sheer pleasure ; mingling erudition and sound judgment with wit and good humour it's as good as a play-a good play.