theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…
Originally posted in The Independent on 12th September, 2011.
When the absurdist playwright NF Simpson made his sole contribution to Granada’s long-running legal drama Crown Court in 1977, the producers must have expected something rather more exotic than the average burglary or assault case.
What they got was “An Upward Fall”, the story of an old folks’ home located on a cliff, with its only lavatories 3,000 feet below, and the carnage that ensued as inhabitants tried to avail themselves of the facilities. “An Upward Fall” was as rooted in Simpson’s world as any of his plays, with characters displaying, at best, eccentricity, and possibly outright madness, but continuing as though their surreal antics were the only reasonable course of action, and explaining the irrational in a calm, rational manner.
Simpson had emerged as a dramatist 20 years earlier, after coming third in an Observer drama competition. He had attracted the particular attention and praise of judge Kenneth Tynan, who told the paper’s readers that, “I am ready to burn my boats and pronounce NF Simpson the most…
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