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Nice Guy

Michael Wood, 14 November 1996

The Life and Work of Harold Pinter 
by Michael Billington.
Faber, 414 pp., £20, November 1996, 0 571 17103 6
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... It’s a good answer, and Ayckbourn no doubt took it kindly and got the point. But it bothers Michael Billington, who can’t tell the story without cleaning it up, indeed turning it into a testimonial. ‘That was not brusqueness or rudeness – Ayckbourn testifies that Pinter was an extremely nice guy – but simply an absolute belief in the self ...

At the Half

Andrew O’Hagan, 20 May 2021

... his co-star, still smarting from the review in the Guardian, tried to recruit us into writing to Michael Billington to ask him how, in the name of God, he could be so unmoved. If people ask you to perch your bum among the tubs of talcum powder, solely for the purpose of telling them how wonderful they are, they might at least produce a thimble of ...

Be flippant

David Edgar: Noël Coward’s Return, 9 December 1999

1956 and All That 
by Dan Reballato.
Routledge, 265 pp., £40, February 1999, 0 415 18938 1
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Collected Plays: Six 
by Noël Coward.
Methuen, 415 pp., £9.99, April 1999, 0 413 73410 2
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Collected Plays: Seven 
by Noël Coward.
Methuen, 381 pp., £9.99, April 1999, 0 413 73410 2
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Collected Revue Sketches and Parodies 
by Noël Coward.
Methuen, 282 pp., £9.99, April 1999, 0 413 73390 4
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Noël Coward: A Life in Quotes 
edited by Barry Day.
Metro, 116 pp., £9.99, November 1999, 9781900512848
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Noël Coward: The Complete Lyrics 
Methuen, 352 pp., £30, December 1998, 0 413 73230 4Show More
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... was based on an underestimation of his seriousness: according to the present-day Guardian critic Michael Billington, Coward’s exploration of ‘the thin dividing line between sex and savagery’ in Private Lives puts him on a par with Strindberg. A rather different reassessment is provided by Dan Rebellato, whose revisionist deconstruction of the ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2011, 5 January 2012

... language. The colours were too bright perhaps.7 March. Read and enjoy Edgelands by Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts about the lure of in-between places and the edges of cities and other communities. I feel I was on to this years ago in my play The Old Country, when Hilary, a spy in the Foreign Office, describes the venues where he met his Soviet ...

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