The taming of the shrew

‘We are stuck like chicken feathers to tar’: Elizabeth Taylor’s description of the fabled romance

‘To begin at the beginning,’ intones Richard Burton with a voice like warm treacle at the start of the 1971 film Under Milk Wood. It’s hard to imagine an actor more obviously influenced by his own beginnings. The epigraph to this double biography is ‘The damp, dark prison of eternal love’, a line borrowed from Quentin Crisp. And if that’s an accurate assessment of Burton’s on-off-on-again relationship with the actress Elizabeth Taylor, it’s an even better summary of his childhood in Wales. Born Richard Walter Jenkins to a barmaid mother and a coal miner father (a ‘12-pints-a-day man’ who sometimes disappeared for weeks on end to drink and gamble), as

An investor should snap up this weepy musical: Sleepless reviewed

It has roughly the same proportions as Shakespeare’s Globe. The Roman Theatre in Verulamium (St Albans) is an atmospheric ruin with low flint walls, a banked rampart and a single stone column. Historians estimate that the circular space, measuring about 40 yards in diameter, would have enabled 7,000 spectators to watch plays, gladiatorial contests and executions. That figure seems too high. A capacity of 1,500 might be nearer the mark. These days the venue hosts outdoor theatre. Playgoers who sit at the edge of the auditorium can reach out and touch the ancient flint walls and run their fingers across the grain of the Roman concrete. During the August cold