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The latest in my current occasional re-visits to old favourite Somerset Maugham novels. Theatre is short and punchy, frothy and very easy listening. I really enjoyed it, but it is very much of its time: cliched as it now may sound to us, I also very much liked being taken back to a era of glamour, grease-paint and glittering parties!
The chief character is Julia and (unusually, I think, for WSM) he does present us with a pretty well-rounded female 'lead'. She's clever - but very one-dimensional; she's flawed - and in many ways, she knows her own failings, despite staggering vanity and self-awareness. But I really liked her. Compared to her, the other characters seem less vivid - I imagine this is how the author meant us to feel.
Well read, in a voice that coped quite well with the male characters too, the narration also seemed a period piece, so it worked very well, for me.
If you fancy a few hours in the dressing rooms and cocktail parties of the stars, with nothing to tax your senses or offer any listening peril whatsoever, I recommend Theatre.
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