IF it weren't so obviously assured of success at the box office, the Haymarket revival of Dear Octopus would be a heroic venture in these days when it is practically forbidden to turn out ten words of quality theatre or fiction without breastbeating over the homeless or the hungry.
But the play is frankly an entertainment about a snobbish, lovable family of the thirties. Its cosiness is no more inhuman than the cosiness that colours the present consciencesalving cult of the unseen underprivileged.
Take it for what it is, and you have a glorious evening of highly professional comedy— both in design and execution -sprinkled lightly with tears at the right moments. Apart from what most seriousminded people would now call its social unconsciousness, the play is a period piece by reason of its energetic belief that life has a warm, hard core : and at or around this core there is the bitter-sweet life of the family, comprising as many generations as possible.
The matriarch and patriarch are played with irresistible grace and self-mockery by Cicely Courtneidge and Jack Hulbert. Unsuccessfully preserved sister-in-law and wryly mad daughter Hilda are engagingly put across by Joyce Carey and Lally Bowers.
In fact, it is impossible to find fault with any of the cast, which is saying something in the West End. Even the children's acting is well finished. Nichola Novello gives a wonderfully sensitive performance as Scrap.
Directed by Frith Banbury, Dodie Smith's "Dear Octopus" is five-star holiday fare.
The news made them want to do something about it. They decided it was time to give what they could afford to cancer research.
The largest single promoter of cancer research in this country is the British Empire Cancer Campaign for Research, whose task it is to finance and coordinate worthwhile research in universities and research centres throughout Great Britain. It is a heavy task and help is urgently needed.
By simply taking up your pen you could 131p in saving countless lives and incalculable suffering, bringing the day nearer when the world will be free from cancer. A gift, a covenant or a legacy would be very gratefully accepted and made to work most effectively by The Viscount Mills, P.C., K.B.E., Hon. Treasurer, British Empire Cancer Campaign
for Research Dept. CH, I I Gros,
venor Crescent, London, SW1— or by your Local Committee.