Magazine article The Spectator

BOOKENDS A Shaggy Beast of a Book

Magazine article The Spectator

BOOKENDS A Shaggy Beast of a Book

Article excerpt

Autobiography is a tricky genre to get right, which may be why so many well-known people keep having another go at it. By my reckoning Tales from an Actor's Life (Robson Press, £14.99) is Steven Berkoff's third volume of autobiographical writings, although I might have missed one or two others along the way.

This one, though, is a little out of the ordinary. Written in the third person - he refers throughout to 'the young actor' - it tells a number of stories of his formative years 'in the business', of auditions failed, of rep tours endured, of disastrous productions walked out of, and of lessons learned, usually far too late to make any difference .

As an actor Berkoff is famously intense and uncompromising, and on screen at least, gives a forceful impression of someone who couldn't care less whether anyone likes him. …

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