pERHAPS the wholeclue to the
nostalgic music of Chopin Was his inexplicable, but very real, love for George Sand. The attraction of extremes for one another rarely lasts because, in the ultimate test, there is only half-understanding, and while it does last there are only episodic high flights into happiness but no continuity.
George Sand was a tough. In her time she was hardly coresidcied woman because she had neither manners nor manner. She ticecr•ibes herself in Bitter Glory as " drunk with the idea
of freedom," Chopin, the shy, the remote and the proud, who dreamed gaities in his music instead of living them, who was delicate and unvigorous, was as fascinated by the strong qualities of George as she was by his
gentleness. Their relationship lasted stormily for many years. When it snapped it was a misunderstanding that broke the link. Tragically., the unworldly Chopin allowed himself to be persuaded that George had caricatured him in a novel. His pride drove him even to death without a reconciliation with the woman he always loved.
Miss Caryl keener has made out of Leon Thornber's novel a very poemant play. Simply the story of the love of Chopin and Sand, it does not tell us much about the music of the first or the writings of the second, but their characters are so clearly defined that their work is never far below the surface. The author's sympathies arc well balanced. There has been no atteirmt to present thecase of either lover in a more favourable light. Well balanced, too, is the structure or the whole play, suggesting many possibilities in this new playwright-producer.
Sally Latimer, lacking. perhaps, the sturdy vulgarity of Sand, endowed her with sensitivity and life and so many lovable qualities, arid Julian Randall offset Miss Latimer's Sand with a quiet contemplative Chopin, whose only fire is in his music. Marcia Powell, as the daughter of Sand, was decoratively lovely and magnificently wicked.
Playhouse, Atnersham, Bucks
VERCOMING the formidable handicap of having to put over the illusion of a ship . at sea, Lifeline attempts the even more difficult task of making a piece of theatre out of inarticulate sailors. -.The result is only partly successful, and one longs for the mobile medium of the cinema with its ability to show so many more sides' of the peril run by the merchant navy in wartime.
The presence of the convoy is skilfully suggested and so is the tire caused by the German incendiary bombs. The action itself is both staccato and stark and no concession is made to theatre technique. It seemed to me that rather more accent than was 1, necessary was put on personal friction between the members of the cabin crew, and that the author, Norman Armstrong, in his anxiety to get. across the grimness of ordeal by war at sea, has forgotten tlee leavening influence of humanity itself. Almost giudgingiy we are told that the steward had covered the ship's galley boy with his coat before death claimed them both.
The theme is heroic. The acting by the all male east in the best tradition, O. C.
TRANSLATED to elubland area after I its successful year at the Piccadilly, Noel Coward's gentle tilt at Spiritualism is as vital and fresh as on its first showing.
That beguiling shade (Kay Hammond), who interrupts a game of backgammcin with Genghis Khan to materialise and harass the household of her husband, makes the unreal seem almost matter of fact. Her nonchalant references to Genghis Khan, Joan of Arc (" ehe's'quite nice, really "), Merlin (" such a bore doing juggling tricks at parties"), all add to the gaiety of the show. Beryl Measor as the medium strikes Assyrian frieze postures and brings breezy laughter every minute she is on the stage. This is easily one of Coward's very hest plays, G. C.