N. F. Simpson: Collected Plays

N. F. Simpson

N. F. Simpson: Collected Plays – a collection of work by Britain’s hugely influential and unfairly forgotten comic genius – contains A Resounding Tinkle, The Hole, Gladly Otherwise, One Way Pendulum, The Cresta Run, Was He Anyone? and If So, Then Yes.

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‘I’m terribly methodical and orderly, but I have a strange, underlying contempt for it… what I try to express is chaos in a context of order. And that’s the basis of all comedy I suppose.’
N.F. Simpson, The Guardian, 1965

N. F. Simpson was one of the leading exponents of the theatre of the absurd, and is best known for his play A Resounding Tinkle, made famous by its premiere at the Royal Court in 1957, and later to star Peter Cook. He was a major force in the satire boom of the sixties, and wrote much exceptional comedy for film and TV for the likes of John Cleese, Beryl Reid, Hattie Jacques and Eric Sykes, as well as a number of brilliantly funny plays for theatre, which starred big names such as Harold Pinter and Kenneth Williams. His influence on everyone from Peter Cook’s much-loved character E. L. Wisty to Monty Python’s Flying Circus helped spawn a generation of incredible comic talent.

Plays included in the collection are A Resounding Tinkle, The Hole, Gladly Otherwise, One Way Pendulum, The Cresta Run, Was He Anyone? and his final work, If So, Then Yes, first performed in 2010.

This collection celebrates the work of this lost comic genius, and seeks to put his reputation back at the heart of British – and world – comedy.

Critic Reviews

'I am ready to burn my boats and pronounce N.F. Simpson the most gifted comic writer the English stage has discovered since the war.' Kenneth Tynan, 1958

Kenneth Tynan
Critic Reviews

'Simpson emerges as a missing link in British humour. He fits in somewhere between Carroll and Shaw and the Monty Python gang.'

Michael Billington, 1988
Critic Reviews

'Simpson makes his lunatic jokes by ringing endless changes on the bromides, non sequiturs and anti-climaxes with which human communication is so unhappily fraught.'

Financial Times
Critic Reviews

'This is Simpson at his very best - the language and arrangement, formal, exact, full of vibration. It's highly comic, exhilarating.'

Harold Pinter, Observer
Critic Reviews

'This play is a wonder - funny, beguiling, utterly original, unexpectedly profound and written by a playwright of 91.'

Charles Spencer, 2010, Daily Telegraph
N. F.Simpson

Born in 1919, N. F. Simpson’s works include A Resounding Tinkle (1957), The Hole (1957) and One Way Pendulum (1959), all of which premiered at the Royal Court Theatre, London, under the direction of William Gaskill. In 1964, a film of One Way Pendulum was released featuring Jonathan Miller, who in 1988 staged the play at the Old Vic Theatre.…

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N. F.Simpson