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New Left Review I/12, November-December 1961

Tom Milne

Luther and the Devils

over the last few months there has been a spate of comment on Luther and The Devils, seizing on the fact that both Osborne and Whiting are preoccupied with religion and non-naturalistic forms to suggest that the theatre is at last growing up out of that nasty habit of grubbing about in the lower reaches of realism, of insisting that the theatre has a social purpose. Rumour happily has it that everybody from Wesker to Delaney via Shaffer is writing, or has written, an historical play, and that the theatre is moving to a higher plane of concern altogether. As Kenneth Pearson expressed it in an unfortunate article in a recent Sunday Times: “Now that the kitchen sink has sunk, and ‘God and Conscience’ are scribbled on our playwrights’ memo pads. . . .” One can almost hear T. S. Eliot and Noel Coward waiting in the wings.

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Tom Milne, ‘Luther and the Devils’, NLR I/12: £3

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