Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Funny Thing Didn’t Happen On The Way To The Theatre Last Night …

Off to The Gate for Pinter’s No Man’s Land last night, where I had the very good fortune to find myself sitting beside Barry McGovern (right, realising who he is sitting beside), the finest Beckett actor of his generation and arguably the finest Beckett actor ever. I told him that I had seen him in Romeo and Juliet at The Abbey a few months ago, when he stepped in at the last minute to play Friar Laurence, and did so whilst carrying the book of the play as if it were some holy relic he’d been entrusted with to defend with his life. “I hope that that didn’t spoil it for you,” says he. “Not at all,” says I, “it only gave it an added frisson.”
  Frisson! What I should have said was, “Not at all, sir, it would have been a privilege to be in the same theatre as you even if you were sweeping out the stalls.”
  But I didn’t. When the play was over, Michael Gambon hushed the applause to announce that Harold Pinter himself was in the audience, which provoked a standing ovation. I didn’t get to speak to Pinter, of course, but that’s just as well, because the conversation would probably have gone something like this:
DB: “Alright, Squire? How’re they hanging?”
HP: “…”
DB: “I’ll get my cloak.”
  Ah, the theatre. The roar of greasepaint, the smell of the crowd, etc.


Gerard Brennan said...


You could maybe pen a Pinter-esque play based on that situation.


bookwitch said...

He probably couldn't believe his luck...

Do you think Pinter would have been as vocal as that?

Corey Wilde said...

You saw Gambon? There is no word for my shade of green.

Declan Burke said...

What made my night was, when I was leaving, a woman with a Dublin accent that could strip paint brayed, "Jaysus, isn't it ownly luvvly ta see Hardold all da same."

Hardold, she said ...

Cheers, Dec