CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

John Gray.

Vancouver, Talonbooks, c1982.
102pp, paper, $5.95.
ISBN 0-88922-196-0.

Grades 9 and up.
Reviewed by Pat Bolger.

Volume 10 Number 4.
1982 November.

Talonbooks' admirable program of publishing Canadian contemporary drama is certainly alive and well; Billy Bishop is their fifty-ninth play in print, and they have an additional ten titles in their Theatre for the Young series.

Bishop's name and the book's attractive colour photo cover will appeal to many teenagers who might ordinarily avoid reading drama, and the play itself could convert them: it is short, generously illustrated, and Bishop's character is genuinely appealing in many respects. The more thoughtful reader will also see the horror lurking behind the play's abundant good humour and the chilling darkness beneath Bishop's youthful high spirits. Students of theatre arts will be especially interested in the characterization, as the play's one actor handles eighteen roles, from Bishop himself to a French chanteuse to King George V. And anyone with an interest in Canadian theatre will enjoy Gray's preface, which traces the play from the germ of an idea in Ottawa, through the first production in Vancouver, the successful Canadian tour, and the arrival on Broadway—to critical acclaim and box office failure.

A highly appealing choice for young adult collections. (Many libraries might also wish to purchase the RCA recording of the songs; hearing Peterson and Gray perform them adds immeasurably to a reading of the play.)

Pat Bolger, Renfrew C. I., Renfrew, ON.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works