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Play to the Endby Robert Goddard
Synopses & Reviews
What I felt as I got off the train this afternoon wasn't what I'd expected to feel. The journey had been as grim and tardy as I suppose it was bound to be on a December Sunday. Most of the others have chosen to go via London and they won't be coming down here until tomorrow. I could have joined them. Instead I volunteered for the slow South Central shuffle along the coast. I had plenty of opportunity to analyse my state of mind as a seamless succession of drab back gardens drifted past the grimy train window. I knew why I hadn't gone up to London, of course. I knew exactly why bright lights and brash company weren't what the doctor had ordered. The truth is that if I had fled to the big city, I might never have made it to Brighton at all. I might have opted out of the last week of this ever more desperate tour and let Gauntlett sue me if he could be bothered to. So, I came the only way I could be sure would get me here. Which it did. Late, cold and depressed. But here, And then, as I stepped out onto the platform . . .
That feeling is why I'm talking into this machine. I can't quite describe it. Not foreboding, exactly. Not excitement. Not even anticipation. Something slipping between all three, I suppose. A thrill; a shiver; a prickling of the hairs on the back of the neck; a ghost tiptoeing across my grave. There wasn't supposed to be anything but a protraction of a big disappointment waiting for me in Brighton. But already, before I'd even cleared the ticket barrier, I sensed strongly enough for certainty that there was more than that preparing a welcome for me. More that might be better or worse, but, either way, was preferable. The tapes were my agent's idea. Well, a diary was what she actually suggested, back in those bright summer days when this donkey of a play looked like a stallion that could run and run and the mere prospect merited a lunch at the River Cafe. A chronicle of how actors refine their roles and discover the deeper profundities of a script before they reach the West End is what Moira had in mind. She reckoned there might be a newspaper serialization in it to supplement the two thou a week Gauntlett is ever more reluctantly paying me. It sounded good. (A lot of what Moira says does.) I bought this pocket audio doodah on the strength of it, while the Cloudy Bay was still swirling around my thought processes. I'm glad I did now.
But it's more or less the first time I have been. I abandoned the diary before I'd even started it, up in Guildford, where the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre hosted the world premiere of our proud production. Is it only nine weeks ago? It feels more like nine months, the span of a difficult pregnancy, with a stillbirth the foregone conclusion since we had word from Gauntlett that there was to be no West End transfer. I thank God for the panto season, without which he might have been tempted to keep us on the road in the hopes of some magical improvement. As it is, the curtain comes down next Saturday and seems likely to stay there.
It shouldn't have turned out this way. When it was announced last year that a previously unknown play by the late and lauded Joe Orton had been discovered, it was widely assumedto be a masterpiece on no other basis than its authorship. What greater proof was needed, after all? This was the man who gave us Entertaining Mr. Sloane, Loot and What the Butler Saw, This was also the man who sealed his reputation as an anarchic genius by dying young, murdered by his lover, Kenneth Halliwell, at their flat in Islington in August 1967. I have all the facts of his extraordinary life at my
Struggling actor Toby Flood, formerly of big and small screen but now seldom seen on either, arrives in Brighton on the first Sunday in December with the other cast members and reluctantly takes on a investigation into the sinister stranger who is apparently stalking his estranged wife. By the author of Into the Blue. Original. 22,500 first printing.
Once Toby Flood played a Bond-like hero in a Hollywood film. Now he’s serving a sentence in a crippled traveling production of a newly unearthed Joe Orton play—a play that might have saved Toby’s career if only someone enjoyed watching it. Painfully, the show’s swan song is coming in Brighton, where Toby’s wife happens to be living happily with another man in anticipation of a divorce decree. Then, almost as if he were scripted, a stranger enters the scene....
A stalker is frightening Toby’s wife, Jenny, who believes the man is probably one of her estranged husband’s fans. When Jenny asks Toby to confront the man, Toby leaps at the chance. Soon, he’s moonlighting from the stage lights and heroically pursuing... something. The truth is, the more Toby finds out about Jenny’s stalker, the more questions he has about a twisting tale of unexplained deaths, interlocking lives, and the violent, greedy adventures of none other than Jenny’s wealthy fiancé—a man who might make the perfect villain, if only the hero lives long enough to prove it....
About the Author
Robert Goddard’s first novel Past Caring was an instant bestseller. Since then his books have captivated readers worldwide with their edge-of-the-seat pace and labyrinthine plots.
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