Putting It On: The West End Theatre of Michael Codron by Michael Codron (Author), Alan Strachan (Author)
Michael Codron is undoubtedly the leading producer of postwar British theatre. Still active after an astonishing half-century in the industry - he is 80 this year - every major British dramatist of the period has had a production under the Codron banner: Alan Ayckbourn, Alan Bennett, Michael Frayn, Simon Gray, David Hare, Joe Orton, John Mortimer, Harold Pinter and Patrick Marber, to name just a few. Describing himself as 'A man of vulgar taste with an impeccable streak', he has had many hits with lighter entertainment as well as serious plays. Aware of his own homosexuality from an early age, Codron grew up in an era of prejudice and intolerance; his experiences parallel the enormous shifts in metropolitan gay life since the 1950's. In "Putting It On" he talks frankly of the most important relationships of his life, from early flings with older, sophisticated figures like David Hicks to David Sutton, the main love of his life and his business partner for over twenty-five years. Codron's CV reads like a concise history of the post-war stage, and the book examines the sea-changes in the commercial sector and the rise of the subsidised theatre, revealing, too, what it was like working with the greatest actors of our time, including Alec Guiness, John Gielgud, Michael Gambon, Tom Courtenay, Richard Briers, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Diana Rigg, Felicity Kendall, Penelope Keith, Julie Waters and Victoria Wood. A fascinating insight into the victorious ups and hair-raising downs of the theatre, "Putting it On" is a testament to an extraordinary career, dramatic in every sense of the word, and unlikely to be parallelled in our time.