Howard Brenton: Epsom Downs

(814 words)
  • John Baker (University of Westminster)
  • Steve Barfield (University of Human Development, Suleymanyia, Iraqi Kurdistan)

Epsom Downs (Round House, 1977), written for Joint Stock Theatre Company, was Howard Brenton's characteristically mordant contribution to the Queen's Silver Jubilee celebrations. His view of this royal occasion was similar to that of Johnny Rotten, lead singer of the Sex Pistols. (The Pistols' ironic song, ‘God Save the Queen', included the rhyme “and the fascist regime”. This became a punk anthem of the disillusioned youth of the late 1970s). Epsom Downs is an epic version of a naturalist slice-of-life play, a comedy that shows a cross section of the population on a particular day; yet it also has strong affinities to the tumultuous city comedies of Ben Jonson (such as Bartholomew Fair) with their …

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Baker, John, Steve Barfield. "Epsom Downs". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 03 February 2005
[, accessed 25 September 2016.]