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The plays in this collection reveal in combination the ‘frivolous’ and ‘serious’ aspects of Tom Stoppard’s talent: his sense of fun, his sense of theatre, his sense of the absurd, and his gifts for parody and satire. The author rounds off his brief introduction, giving the genesis of each piece, with the comment: ‘The role of the theatre is much debated (by almost nobody, of course), but the thing defines itself in practice first and foremost as a recreation. This seems satisfactory’.
Leading off is The Real Inspector Hound, the ultimate country-house whodunnit; Dirty Linen moves a Whitehall farce to Parliament Square; Dogg’s Hamlet, Cahoot’s Macbeth subverts Shakespeare; and After Magritte explains the inexplicable.
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