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Saturday, March 15, 2014


Well-constructed story about those on the other side of the footlights. (Review by Michael Green)

David Bloomberg is a former mayor of Cape Town (as was his father, Abe Bloomberg) who has lived in Europe for many years.

He is a lawyer by profession, and in retirement he has written six books, mainly of the memoir type, but he first attained prominence in Cape Town as a producer of plays in a theatre called The Barn, at his father’s home in Constantia. His late wife, Toby Fine, was a distinguished ballet dancer, and so was his mother, Miriam Bloomberg.

His new book, The Don, is a novel that stems from the author’s lifelong interest in the theatre and the people who work in that heady environment. It traces the career of an English actor who rises from unpropitious beginnings to become a star of the West End. The story is given a feeling of authenticity by the inclusion of real, non-fictitious big names – Anton Dolin, Ivor Novello, Laurence Olivier and others - and by copious references to famous plays, their themes and their characters.

The principal figure, the Don, is certainly vivid. He is portrayed as a vigorous bisexual involved in a large number and variety of sex scenes, with explicit language. This is of course a common practice in novels today, presumably because it is reckoned to be good for sales.

That aside, The Don is a well-constructed story about the people on the other side of the footlights, their strengths and frailties, their hopes and fears. It is a good read for the many people who are interested in the remarkable, artificial, imaginative world of the theatre.

The Don  ... Story of an Actor by David Bloomberg is published by Arena Books/Ampersand Press, R185. ISBN-13: 9781909421363  - Michael Green