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The Real Inspector Hound

The Real Inspector Hound
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Tom Stoppard
Publisher: Samuel French (cover may change)
# of Pages: 48
Pub. Date: 1968
Edition: Acting
ISBN-10: 0573614679
ISBN-13: 9780573614675
Cast Size: 3 female, 6 male

About the Book:

The Real Inspector Hound is a full-length comedy by Tom Stoppard. This is a spoof on the who-done-it tradition of Agatha Christie, providing all the cliches of the genre the isolated country house, the foggy marshes, the eccentric suspects each with their own secrets and each with a motive for murder. Along with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, The Real Inspector Hound is one of Tom Stoppard's best-known, most performed plays.

The Real Inspector Hound centres around feuding theatre critics Birdboot and Moon who attend the premiere of a new murder mystery. Birdboot is a veteran reviewer known in British circles as a first-string critic and avid womanizer who has the hots for one (and then two) of the actresses. Moon is a second-string reviewer called out at the last moment to replace his paper's first-stringer and is beset with self-doubt and jealousies. They soon find themselves inside the play-within-a-play, implicated in the lethal activities of an escaped madman. In the hilarious spoof of Agatha Christie-like melodramas that follows, the body under the sofa proves to be the missing first string critic. As mists rise about isolated Muldoon Manor, Moon and Birdfoot become dangerously implicated in the lethal activities of an escaped madman. Will Inspector Hound arrive in time? Can he find the murderer in time? Who indeed is the real Inspector Hound? Does it matter? All of these questions will be answered as Moon and Birdboot become more and more intertwined with the action onstage, leading to a dramatic and surprising finale.

The Real Inspector Hound premiered in 1968 at the Criterion Theatre in London. In 1972, this long one-act masterpiece of farce (typically less than eighty minutes in performance) premiered Off-Broadway at Theater Four in New York. Stoppard directed a London revival of the play at the National Theatre in 1985, and the play had a Broadway revival in 1992 at the Criterion Theatre Stage Right on a double-bill with The Fifteen Minute Hamlet. Rave reviews greeted a second major London revival in 1998 on a double-bill with Peter Shaffer's Black Comedy. The play is regularly performed in regional repertory, high school, college, and community theatre productions.

Cast: 3 female, 6 male

What people say:

"What absurd fun Tom Stoppard created when he let fantasies run wild." — Evening Standard

"Witty and delicious parody of the fog bound whodunit." — The Guardian

"A tour de force of theatrical metaphysics." — Daily Mail

"A masterpiece.... Stoppard mines murder mystery conventions and strikes gold." — Independent on Sunday

"Zanily, crazily funny." — The New York Times

"Comedy satire of delightful quality." — New York Post

About the Playwright:

Sir Tom Stoppard (born Tomás Straüssler) is a Czech-born British playwright and screenwriter. His family had to flee to Singapore at the onset of the Nazi invasion. The family moved to England in 1946, where he left school at the age of seventeen to work for The Western Daily Press, in Bristol. He was catapulted into the front ranks of modern playwrights overnight when Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead opened in London in 1967, for which he was awarded a Tony, the Prix Italia, the New York Critic's Award, and Plays and Players Award for Best New Play. He has written prolifically for TV, radio, film and stage, and in 1998 shared a best original screenplay Oscar for Shakespeare in Love. He was knighted in 1997.

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