NOT SO EASY
Acting, Its Idea and Tradition. By Robert Speaight (Cassell, 2s. 6d.) Reviewed by GERALD WYNNE RUSHTON
THIS is the best half-crown's worth, of its kind, that I have met for a very long time. The book consists of three lectures, delivered last autumn to the Guild Theatre Studio, dealing with the idea of acting, tradition of acting, and technique of acting. I would much like to have heard them delivered, for I am sure Mr Speaight did full justice to his own flexible and beautiful prose.
But let no one imagine that this is an embalming of platitudes. I learnt a lot from this very scholarly book—and I hope others will learn, too. A certain very well-known producer once said to me : "It is my boast that I can make anybody act." I always thought he was talking clotted nonsense—now, after reading Mr Speaight's book—I know he was! There are far too many people, both on the stage and off it, who imagine that they have only to put on make-up to be Marie Tempests and John Gielguds. Well, of course, fools of that sort won't buy this book—they know! But the youngster with the real love of acting in his heart will buy it, and con its pages with care and know, when he's finished reading it, the truth of Fanny Xemble's words (but my italics): "It is not easy to act well."
To the amateur or the professional that, as Mr Speaight has appropriately " timed " its placing, is the final behest" It. is not easy to act well."
eminently a book to enlighten the ignorant, and no student of Civil Service administration or of Imperial economic conditions can afford to neglect it.