Saturday, June 17, 2006
A week without grandchildren is a quiet week. The quiet is good, but the lassitude it produces is not conducive to getting a whole lot done. The heat and humidity add to the sense of lazy slowness. You sit with that extra cuppa. You actually finish a book. In this case it was GIELGUD; A THEATRICAL LIFE by Jonathan Croall. It is an exhaustive production by production narrative of "Johnnie's" entire career--all 96 years of it. The sometimes numbing detail is offset just often enough by a sharp observation or a pleasing anecdote to keep you reading on toward the next big success or humbling failure. Though we are told constantly that Gielgud loved gossip, Mr. Croall is, thank goodness, circumspect with it. We get a forthright coverage of the actor's homosexuality without resorting to sordid out of school tales about it. The concentration is where it ought to to be--on his performances as an actor and his work as a director. There is an excellent index and bibliography, which should keep this volume in any theatre scholar's library.