Brenton Plays: "The Romans in Britain"; "Thirteenth Night"; "The Genius"; "Bloody Poetry"; "Greenland" v.2
Howard Brenton is one of Britain's best-known and most controversial dramatists The Romans in Britain was the play that brought calls to bring back censorship when it was first staged at the National in 1980. It conjures up "an era that is culturally as well as historically remote which is a notoriously difficult task, but Mr Brenton acheives it with great skill and effect...a very good play indeed." In The Thirteenth Night: "He sets the characters of Shakespeare to find the elements in the British character which could transform an Englishman into a Stalin, and closes in on his creation with an overall wit to match his horror" (The Times). The Genius "is teeming with memorable stage pictures, and bristling with Brenton's very best writing: flinty, impassioned, explosive" (Financial Times). In Bloody Poetry "Brenton is doing something markedly ambitious in this phantasmagoric play. He is celebrating the idea of the committed artist who seeks to stir and provoke sullen, defeated bourgeois England. At the same time, with clear-eyed honesty, he shows how difficult it is to upset the moral order" (The Guardian).
Greenland is "on the one hand a cry of disillusionment with established political forms, on the other it is full of typically lively Brentonesque satire and lampoons...Brenton's message is a welcome antidote to the madness in which we all now seem to be living and a sharp blast against patriarchy as well as other attendant woes" (City Limits).