Goorney, Howard. The Theatre Workshop Story. London: Methuen, 1981. Livings discusses his warm relationship with Joan Littlewood and her Theatre Workshop, where he worked and acted in the mid-1950’s, “after an odd audition during which I was required to scythe hay across the stage.” On his plays, Livings remarks, “I should like to think one play of mine could catch, just once, the rich texture and the tough purpose she displays again and again.”
Hunt, Hugh, Kenneth Richards, and John Russell Taylor. The Revels History of Drama in English, 1880 to the Present Day. Vol. 7. London: Methuen, 1978. Livings took his place in modern drama “by virtue of the power and variety of his output, the striking individuality of his means of dramatic expression, alongside the major figures of the heroic days.” Short but informative overview, from Stop It, Whoever You Are to Honour and Offer.
Rusinko, Susan. British Drama, 1950 to the Present: A Critical History. Boston: Twayne, 1989. Rusinko discusses Livings under the heading “Working Class Writers.” She provides a brief biographical sketch, followed by informative outlines of Stop It, Whoever You Are, Nil Carborundum, and Eh? Discusses words and Livings’s detailed instructions about how certain words are pronounced.
Taylor, John Russell. The Angry Theatre: New British Drama. Rev. ed. New York: Hill and Wang, 1969. An essential starting place for the study of Livings. Some critics, says Taylor, find his work “both profound and riotously funny [while] others determinedly find it neither.” The important difference, he says, is that not only “does he come from the working class, but he writes principally for the working class.” Good long discussions of several works, including Jack’s Horrible Luck and more popular plays.
Thomson, Peter. “Henry Livings and the Accessible Theatre.” In Western Popular Theatre, edited by David Mayer and Kenneth Richards. London: Methuen, 1977. An appreciation of the common appeal of Livings’s work to the British housewife, “the bawdy mockery of respectable middle-class avarice.” Considers the primacy of language, the convention of direct address, and other aspects of Livings’s craft. Thomson says that Livings is “a man with a lot of plays in him, and hardly anywhere to put them.”