7th May 1959
I went with Doycie to A Taste of Honey, a squalid little piece about squalid and unattractive people. It has been written by an angry young Lady of nineteen and is a great success. Personally I found it fairly dull.
The high and low spot of my London visit was the opening night of John Osborne’s musical Paul Slickey at the Palace. I went with Blackie Mills and never in all my theatrical experience have I seen anything so appalling. Appalling from every point of view. Bad lyrics, dull music, idiotic, would-be-daring dialogue – interminable long-winded scenes about nothing and above all the amateurishness and ineptitude, such bad taste that one wanted to hide one’s head… I fear Mr John Osborne is not so talented as he had been made out to be. Look Back in Anger had vitality and too much invective. George Dillon, his first play, written in collaboration with someone else, was his best and even that had a week last act. The Entertainer was verbose, unreal and pretentious and this is unspeakable… destructive vituperation is too easy. I cannot believe that this writer, the first of all the ‘Angry Young Men,’ was ever really angry at all. Dissatisfied perhaps and certainly envious and, to a degree, talented, but no more than that. No leader of thought and ideas, a conceited, calculating young man blowing a little trumpet.
(Noel Coward, Journals, original manuscript)