Obituary: Raymond Marriott

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The Independent Online
THE admirable obituary notice of Raymond Marriott (by Wendy Trewin, 12 January) caught the essence of a man when 'on duty', writes Peter Cotes. Away from his job as a reporter of plays which he had pursued as a critic for close on 50 years, he was nearly always less than 'starry-eyed' about both play and player, reserving his utmost enthusiasm only for a handful of actors, playwrights and directors.

He succeeded the legendary SR Littlewood, editor and senior critic of the Stage - 'the organ of the profession', as it was once known - upon the latter's retirement and was one of a select coterie of drama critics in the post-war years - Ivor Brown, WA Darlington, JC Trewin and the brilliant, if idiosyncratic, James Agate amongst others - whose writings one came to respect and often depend upon completely. Like his peers, 'RBM', as he was known, went to see the play rather than be seen by the audience. Unlike them, though, he was reclusive and less of a personality in public. His other self was reserved for his friends, amongst whom I liked to count myself.

With his 'Bohemians' - as he liked to describe us - he would sprinkle his personal reminiscences with tales of such folk he'd known and written about as GBS, Sean O'Casey and Hannen Swaffer, amongst others. His closest companions for long periods in his life were the writers Rhys Davies, Glyn Roberts and Anna Kavan. Like them, Marriott was at heart a 'Bohemian'.