West End Boys West End Girls: Anecdotal Evidence
by Peter T. Stone
Trafford Publishing

"She is tall and slender, with small hips and a boyish cut. This is the photograph Ellen sees representing her at the time when she danced professionally."

Starting his theatrical career as a child, the author, Peter T. Stone, documents the world of London's theatre community in his book, A West End Boys West End Girls: Anecdotal Evidence. A backstage pass into the theatre world, the story is told in twenty-one short sections that leap back and forth across time. This crafting technique the author employs provides the reader with a view into the cause and effect of characters' choices and the outcome and circumstances surrounding those decisions. After these initial twenty-one sections there is a second, smaller set of twenty-one short-short stories, flash pieces of anecdotal entries from one of the nameless character's notebook, the prop boy. The author chooses the perspective of the prop boy, a character suspected to be out of the way and/or nondescript, but truly has his finger on the pulse of the entire group. In fact, of the twenty-one initial stories, his is one of the most shocking, tender, and heart-felt. The flash pieces themselves are the edgiest of the entire collection.

The array of characters the author presents is astounding: Ronny, an over-weight, bombastic theatre diva and his sidekick, Mandy, a chanteuse; Hugo, a Jerry Lee Louis impersonator who is seriously injured during one of his performances and is asked by the director to repeat his injury every night as it was brilliant to watch; and Ellen, the dancer. Her character acts as the thread binding the collection into a novel. Her story is seen from her early days as a young girl ready to take London by storm, and later when she has been through the gears of the industry and now an older lady with only memories. Varied yet personable, Stone's collection is one that, theatre buff or not, everyone can enjoy.

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