Penelope Fitzgerald's brilliant novel about life at an eccentric stage school.
In the 1960s, Freddie's was the usual name for the Temple Stage School, which supplied the West End theatres with children for roles in everything from Shakespeare to pantomime. Freddie, the proprietress, is a formidable woman, of unknown age and provenance. But everybody who is anybody claims to know her. By sheer force of character and single-minded thrust she has turned herself into a national institution.
This story of what happened at Freddie's is not only for theatre-lovers, but for people who care about children or hate them, or were – once upon a time – children themselves. In particular, it is for those of us who sometimes pretend to be what we are not – that is to say, act a little.
'A jewel of a book' Daily Mail 'The wit is crisp and dry, scenes and characters are deftly skewered. Whether you view the theatre as a noble passion or a wasting disease, you are equally certain to be regaled.' Guardian 'Enjoy the knowingness of the awful children, the weary fumblings of the professional actors, the constant witticisms at the expense of pretentious directors. An enjoyable, sharp novel...a delicious refreshment.' Margaret Forster