Excerpt from Parables in Farce by John Russell Taylor

Encore, May/June, 1962, pp. 36-38


Nicol Williamson and James Booth in Nil Carborundum



...Meanwhile, Livings has already completed another play, Nil Carborundum, a story of goings-on in an R.A.F. kitchen manned by unwilling National Servicemen during a nonsensical peace-time exercise, and his productivity shows no sign of diminishing.  He has not yet found his audience, and as long as he continues to write in the most familiar popular forms it is doubtful whether, even when he does, he will number many critics among them.  He is essentially the sort of dramatist who should come to critical approval by way of popular success rather than the other way round—a Whitehall Theatre audience would have little difficulty in taking his plays a their face value and enjoying them on those terms; the more severe playgoer, who likes to know at once where he is and be sure that he is not wasting his time on something which may turn out, after all, not to be really ‘serious’ at all, is in a less happy situation.  Nil Carborundum is scheduled for production by the London branch of the Stratford Memorial Theatre Company, which may set the seal on Livings as a serious writer; one only hopes it does not at the same time deprive him of the only audience who can simply laugh at, say, the business of the clock in Stop It, Whoever You Are without grimly stopping to ask what it means.


[Webmistress's note:  The excerpt given above is all this article has to say about Nil Carborundum.  To read Parables in Farce in its entirety, click here.]