“The fate of all of us artists,” according to Henry, is “people saying they preferred the early stuff.”

Henry is the hero of Tom Stoppard’s new play in the West End in London. A successful playwright with a passion for cricket, Henry is arguably a Stoppard-like figure; and when Roger Rees delivers the lines smiles of recognition go round the house at the suggestion of the author’s own voice behind his hero’s plaint.

Nevertheless, when The Real Thing opened at the Strand Theatre in mid-November, Henry himself—had he written the play-might have been relieved at the favorable reception it got. Reviews, on the whole, were warmer than they were tepid and the critics drew none of the invidious comparisons with earlier work that a playwright, evidently, awaits with such grim resignation. The reviewer for the Guardian seemed to encapsulate the general...

 

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