Page extent: 272
ISBN: 9781849432337
Binding: PaperBack

Great Moments in the Theatre

Benedict Nightingale

PaperBack (03 Nov 2011)

'A magnificently readable tour of theatrical history conducted by our best-informed living critic.' -  Michael Billington

'Benedict Nightingale's characteristically witty, insightful and enthusiastic reports make you wish you'd been sitting next to him during his greatest moments in the theatre.' – Ian McKellen 


Starting with the first performance of Aeschylus' The Oresteia in 458 BC, ending with the premiere of Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem in London of 2009 AD, Benedict Nightingale collects in one volume what he believes to be the greatest moments in theatre.

Each informative and entertaining entry is between 650 and 850 words in length, covering a remarkable diversity of theatrical openings and events, many of historical interest and importance, and many more witnessed by Nightingale himself during his 50‐year reviewing career. The plays and shows that Nightingale crisply, authoritatively and readably brings alive range from Sheridan’s School for Scandal to Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, from Gogol’s Government Inspector to the Ian McKellen Macbeth, from Synge’s Playboy of the Western World, which provoked serious riots in the Dublin of 1907, to Lionel Bart’s Twang!! in 1965, possibly the most disastrous musical ever.

Throughout the book Nightingale celebrates leading dramatists and performers, directors and composers. Everywhere he shares the fulfilment and fun he has found in the art‐form he loves.

Additional Information

ISBN13 9781849432337
Binding PaperBack
Page Extent 272



I find it delightful, even inspiring, to read Mr. Nightingale discussing Shakespeare revivals with the argumentativeness of sports talk radio… fun... lively... more a theater lover’s journal than a history lesson. Great Moments is a reminder that while experience is an asset in any kind of criticism, it’s particularly useful for those who cover this ephemeral art… In capturing the thrill of seeing a theatrical event, Mr. Nightingale writes like someone who doesn’t just have a responsibility to his readers but also (in an unconventional way) to history.’ New York Times

'Gloriously readable and vivid... painstakingly researched... It is the perfect stocking filler for all drama buffs' The Stage

'A most interesting tome filled with theatrical meat… [Nightingale] takes us along on a trip across centuries of greasepaint, and does it so very entertainingly that we are glad to go along for the ride.' Playbill

'Benedict has been the leading theatre critic of his generation and has written for The Times for 20 years, setting the standard by which the great performances and productions are judged. People onstage, backstage and in the audience have come to trust his every observation and judgement delivered with style, humour and passion' James Harding, The Times

‘But what Nightingale's great moments are really all about, though, is the personal experience at the theatre. What counts is what the play makes you feel. There are no right answers.’ Irish Independent