Between 1963 and 2015 Paul Xuereb wrote more than a thousand theatre reviews for The Sunday Times of Malta, all of them listed in this book’s Appendix, and 176 represented in full text in this book. He reviewed a wide variety of plays, most of them in English or Maltese, and a good number in Italian: serious and light comedies, darker drama, classics from ancient Greece and Rome, plasy by English and Italian authors of the Renaissance, seventeenth and eighteenth century plays, and many others from the twentieth and early twenty-first century. There are several reviews of Shakespeare’s plays, with Hamlet heading the list, Maltese versions of early twentieth century French comedies and farce, and plays by Francis Ebejer, Ġużè Chetcuti, Joe Friggieri, Alfred Sant, Vincent Vella and others in the twentieth and early twenty-first century. There are also reviews of musicals, and of that favourite, Christmas pantomime.
Readers will be able to tace the development of actors like Karmen Azzopardi, Manuel Cauchi, Monica Attard, Narcy Calamatta, Edward Mercieca and Pino Scicluna, and get an idea of the impact of non-mainstream theatre like that of John Schranz and his followers, and of visiting companies like Eugenio Barba’s Odin Teatret. Many reviews also try to gauge the possible impact of visiting commedia dell’arte companies, and of companies like the Yong Vic or Cheek by Jowl on Maltese theatre-making.
The book is illustrated throughout with images from the reviewed productions. Many of these photographs have never been seen in print and will enable readers to have a better understanding of what the performances must have looked like.
This book is a major addition to the study of performance in Malta as it will help our understanding of the development of theatre-making in Malta during the last decades. Students of theatre, theatre lovers and practitioners will enjoy this book and will want to have it in their libraries.