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POSITION OF PEGGY HARPER
Bibliophile price: £0.75
From the foreword by George Orwell, he says that Merrick's special thing is 'To reproduce the atmosphere of low-class theatrical life: the smell of greasepaint and fish and chips, the sordid rivalries, the comfortless Sunday journeys, the lugging of suitcases through the backstreets of unfamiliar towns…The trudging up and down the Strand on worn-out boot-soles, the agents' offices where women in dyed frocks sit waiting their turn, the forlorn collection of press cuttings, the manager who bolts in the middle of the tour with all the takings.' The author Leonard Merrick (1864-1939) worked as an actor manager, wrote 11 novels and numerous plays and is unjustly neglected. Here is his Edwardian classic, populated by hack writers, drunken actors, pushy stage mothers and unscrupulous directors - a drama of greed, ambition and love. Christopher Tatham is trying to 'make it' in acting, surviving on third-rate bit parts and the charity of his uncle. A chance encounter with the enchanting Peggy Harper seems to herald a change of fortune. Will Peggy and Tatham manage to carve out a life for themselves and attain the success and stability they crave? 164pp in paperback.

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