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Falstaff in a wig and gown

23 November 2002

12:00 AM

23 November 2002

12:00 AM

RUMPOLE AND THE PRIMROSE PATH John Mortimer

Viking, pp.212, 16.99

Rumpole is Falstaff on the right side of the law. He is rumbustious, shrewdly distrustful of authority and filled with substantial appetites others find gross. Leo McKern’s television incarnation was unforgettable; his face had been hardened by confronting the world’s absurdities and mangled by the rigorous pursuit of his own pleasure. One was reminded of Evelyn Waugh: ‘The heavy port drinker must be prepared to make some sacrifice of personal beauty and agility.’ One must substitute claret for port, of course, the Ch


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