Show Business: Tugging at the Old School Ties

Michael Frayn's rueful urbanity livens Broadway and a new film

Britain's most versatile man of letters was once the fledgling rebel with a cause. When Michael Frayn was a schoolboy in the late 1940s, he and a friend "discovered the revolutionary tradition. We ran an unofficial Marxist cell, and I described myself as a Communist." Frayn's widowed father, an asbestos salesman and orthodox Laborite, was not amused. He declared that higher education was rubbish and that Michael should leave school to become a sales trainee. The son, more mole than firebrand, slowly undermined that plan and found his way to Cambridge, first as an army recruit sent to learn Russian, then...

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