Upbeat: Coda

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Critic threatened with death by composer: it probably sounds like daily life on a newspaper, but this is London in 1930, and the publication is called The Sackbut. Eric Wells, its editor, has been accusing one Peter Godwin of plagiarism. The scene is set for an exploration of artists' self-destructive urges - or so we are to expect in Ronald Harwood's play Poison Pen, which opens its premiere run on Thursday at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester. There is more to the critic/composer relationship, it appears, than meets the eye. Any resemblance to the death of the composer Peter Warlock, alias Philip Heseltine, is wholly intentional.