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Playwright NF Simpson dies

Published 31 August 2011

NF Simpson, best known for his absurdist plays, died on Saturday 27 August following a stroke. He was 92.

The son of a Baptist glass-blower, Simpson had his first play, A Resounding Tinkle, staged at the Royal Court in 1957 after winning third prize in an Observer playwriting competition.

He went on to write pieces including The Hole, One Way Pendulum, The Cresta Run and Was He Anyone?  In addition, he wrote for both radio and television, and contributed to West End revues, but stopped suddenly in 1983, preferring instead to spend more than a decade exploring England on a narrowboat.

Simpson’s work was last seen in the West End when, in 2007, the Donmar Warehouse staged Absurdia, a production that paired A Resounding Tinkle and Gladly Otherwise with the world premiere of Michael Frayn’s The Crimson Hotel.

Known affectionately as Wally, Simpson was described by critic Kenneth Tynan as “the most gifted comic writer the English stage has discovered since the war”.

MA

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