The Birth of Modern Theatre: Rivalry, Riots, and Romance in the Age of Garrick

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The Birth of Modern British Theater: Rivalry, Riots, and Romance in the Age of Garrick by Norman S. Poser reads less like a treatise and more like a work of fiction. In it, the list of dramatis personae start with the hero, David Garrick, who charms his way onto the London stage, and once there, changes how stagecraft and acting will be performed forever. Other characters, of course, wander on and off the stage as well, such as Kitty Clive, Peg Woffington, Charles Macklin, and Susannah Cibber. Even the audience, in true eighteenth-century fashion, plays a part.

While the reader is getting a huge dose of historical information, it’s delivered in a very natural style that is highly readable and rather exciting. What scandal will Garrick wander into next? And just what is going on in Peg Woffington’s bedroom? Some stories feel as exciting to read about now as they must have done in the eighteenth century, or nearly so.

Drury Lane and London come vividly to life, along with the actors. Even more fascinating to see is this definitive turning point where theater changed from the stiff, unauthentic style of an earlier era into something we could more easily understand now, more natural and backed by complex psychology. For a slim volume, this is a large book, that tells a wonderful story of a very real and wonderful age.


Reviewed By:

Author Norman S. Poser
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 200 pages
Publisher Routledge
Publish Date 2018-10-10
ISBN 9781138333475
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue Mar-19
Category Reference
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