Osborne’s highly autobiographical play was such a success that it spawned the term “angry young men” to describe Osborne and those of his generation who employed the harshness of realism in the theatre in contrast to the more escapist theatre that characterised the previous generation. On reading the first act (all that was completed at that point) Olivier asked to be cast in the part; he had for years maintained that he might easily have been a third-rate comedian called “Larry Oliver”, and would sometimes play the character at parties. Behind Archie’s brazen façade there is a deep desolation, and Olivier caught both aspects, switching, in the words of the biographer Anthony Holden, “from a gleefully tacky comic routine to moments of the most wrenching pathos”.
First edition, 8vo, neat contemporary ink name to front free endpaper, internally fine, publisher’s cloth, dust-jacket with still of Laurence Olivier in character, usual slight toning to spine but overall a fine example.
Stock ID: 98741