Symphony of histrionic voices
Talking Theatre: Interviews with Theatre People
by Richard Eyre
Nick Hern Books (New South), $49.95 hb, 349 pp, 9781848420465
One of many dangers lying in wait for the writer (and reader) of theatre-insider books is that he or she may slip into an endless series of tired anecdotes linked by preening paragraphs of luvvie-speak – though most readers may find luvvie-speak rather more interesting, and amusing, than the piles of polly-waffle foisted on us by our elected ex-representatives. In his preface to this collection of conversations (they are described as ‘interviews’, but this is no rag-bag of formulaic questions), by turns urbane and provocative, humorous and perceptive, and always engaging, director Richard Eyre (whose production of Mary Poppins is currently filling Her Majesty’s in Melbourne) acknowledges his editor and publisher’s help in ‘[discriminating] between what is interesting to me and what is interesting to the general reader’. Over 331 pages and forty-two interviews, Eyre manages this balancing act with the skill of a practised performer combined with the (always) essential awareness of the audience.