Close-Up Magic is a living history of a small theatre and its mammoth impact, a book which traces the treacherous and thrilling path through famine, feast and fire. It never should have worked: a makeshift theatre about a pub far west of the West End in the dark days of the early 1970s, with no funding beyond its (initially) meagre box office takings. It certainly never should have kick-started the careers of the likes of Catherine Johnson or Julie Walters, Conor McPherson or Simon Callow. It shouldn't have worked. And yet it did.
The Origins of the Bush Theatre, for those who know it, have entered into the realms of the mythical: Brian McDermott standing on a beer crate at Speakers' Corner flogging the latest show; the battles against de facto censorship; the struggles for survival; and most importantly, setting the tone for the future, those first few productions, wild, brilliant magnets of controversy, 90-minute packets of theatre at its best. This book captures it all and beyond: the guts, the gore and the glory of 40 years at the Bush.
"Consistently well-written and informative."
- British Theatre Guide