The Theater: New Play on Broadway, Oct. 3, 1960

The Hostage (by Brendan Behan) seems much less a play than a dramatization of its playwright: sprawling, shocking, howlingly off-key, marvelously in tune, humane and hilarious. What story there is turns on a young English soldier held as a hostage in a Dublin brothel against the Belfast hanging of an Irish patriot. Under Joan Littlewood's brilliant direction, this proves story enough to provide a real center of feeling among all the vaudeville tricks, freak-show tactics, music-hall gags and ditties that stuff out the evening. As the whores and queers and strangies cavort, as irreverent lyrics make butts of everything, as wisecracks...

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