Well-made plays

Authored by: Robert Leach

An Illustrated History of British Theatre and Performance

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9780415725163
eBook ISBN: 9780429463679
Adobe ISBN:


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Vast numbers of plays were written in the period between the two world wars, but few have remained in the repertoire. The case of Bernard Shaw is symptomatic. His reputation was at its height, perhaps especially among progressive people, around 1920, but after Heartbreak House and Saint Joan (1924), his work became ever more disappointing. The Millionairess (1936) and In Good King Charles’s Golden Days (1939) have little to detain the theatregoer, while in his ‘political extravaganzas’, from The Apple-Cart (1929), Too True to be Good (1932), and On the Rocks (1933) to Geneva (1938), he became increasingly pompous and detached from reality. As Clive Barker remarked, ‘On the Rocks reads like a pastiche of Shaw’. 1

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