How Good Is David Mamet, Anyway?: Writings on Theater--And Why It Matters


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6.23 X 9.29 X 1.12 inches | 1.38 pounds

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"A new collection of [John Heilpern's] essays and reviews showcases the wit, intelligence, compassion, and range of one of theatre's premier critics. Whether he's being a fly-on-the-wall during an amusing luncheon with Sir Ralph Richardson and Sir John Gielgud or praising or damning the acting of Ralph Fiennes and Diana Rigg, Heilpern's prose always suggests a man who is passionately in love with the theatre... In a brilliant opening essay, Heilpern analyzes the differences between American and British theatre and each country's actors... This is a book you can read in small doses if you like-most of the reviews and essays are relatively short-but more likely you'll have a hard time putting it down." -- Dramatics
"[H]e is really quite good. He dispenses an easy, readable, lighthearted prose that reveals a congenital love for the art-form and a tendency to shrug, sneer, and occasionally fulminate without becoming vulgar or bitchy or losing his verbal elegance. And he has the courage, lacking in many other theatre-critics, to firmly rap the knuckles of other critics with whom he disagrees." -- Charles Marowitz, American Book Review
"To describe a play he likes, John Heilpern says it was 'mindbogglingly entertaining.' He could be referring to his own joyful book. In the great tradition of English theatre criticism, his writing hides its deep seriousness behind a glitter of fun." -- Peter Brook
"John Heilpern is truly rare, his reviews are generous, openhearted and smart, without being effusive--tough and incisive without being mean. And ever present is his love for the theater and respect for the people who make it." -- George C. Wolfe
"John Heilpern is one of the smartest, most literate, most decent critics this country's theater has had. He writes beautifully, he's wonderfully funny, he's incisive and insightful. Even when one disagrees with him (I would, for instance, answer that I think David Mamet is very, very good, great even), one finds in the disagreement the pleasure to be had from intelligent argument about art. Most importantly, Heilpern cheers for the difficult and daring in theater. As much as he shows himself here to be a great chronicler of our theater's past, Heilpern is one of our most important and articulate champions of its future." -- Tony Kushner
"Brilliantly witty and provocative, John Heilpern's writing is based on a passionate and profound appreciation of vibrant, living theater." -- Natasha Richardson