Page 10, 19th May 1939

19th May 1939
Page 10
Page 10, 19th May 1939 — The Play

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Locations: London


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The Play

Keywords: Herbert Farjeon

The rural slums of Ireland

are t-leared this WWI


Bridge Head SEEING " Bridge Head " is just a bit like one of those bewildering Family parties to which you, the only non-family member, have been heartily

welcomed but absent mindedly neglected. From the moment that the family have got together they have avidly discussed their intricate and absorbingly interesting mutual affairs but have forgotten that you wot have the key to their personal topics.

I felt neglected at Bridge Head, as I have felt out-of-it at family teaparties. The programme explained that the play was about the problems of the Irish Land Commission, and hastily I gathered that their work in the west of Eire was a kind of rural slumclearance. But that wasn't enough to clarify all the intricate quarrels between the various settlers, new and old, that assembled at Mooney's Hotel in Kilrea to complain to Stephen Moore, the Commission's agent.

THROUGH labyrinths of wordy arguI ment and indistinct dialect, how ever, 1 cut a way to the heart of Mr Rutherford Mayne'e play-the portrait of a man whose singleness of purpose relentlessly pursued the work in which he believed.

Stephen Moore thought, lived and dreamed of the land which should be the people's. To cover the whole of Ireland with small holdings was his goal. No personal relationships held his hand; the plough of his will drove a straight furrow through to the end of his time-an end which was only a sectional division to Stephen Moore, who saw the work go on through another's vision of the same Ireland us his own.

Wilfrid Lawson's interpretation of

Stephen Moore's integrity was a magnificent study in undertones without the least hint of caricature. The man of imagination lives his life of selfless devotion to the cause without even pausing to realise that it is his whole life that he expends on the job.

The rest of the characters are broadly sketched in, and while they provide lively dialogue to keep an audience in laughter, they are not made intrinsically interesting to us; not even the land inspector from Japan, who acts as an explanatory chorus by his Ingenious " Excuse me " questions.

I'll admit I was mostly in the same maze as the Jap.



Third Party Risk

SO many improbable and impossible plots have been woven into "thriller" plays that it Is refreshing to come across a story acceptable without too great a strain on one's imaginative faculties. A plausible story, excellently interpreted, makes this " thriller " worth seeing.

Sir David Layering, a Harley Street specialist, and Lady Layering have a tiff as a result of mischief-making by Lady Lavering's mother, and, in a moment of pique, Sir David accepts the invitation of Mrs Mordaunt, a married patient. to supper at her cottage. Arriving together at her home just before midnight, they accidentally run down a tramp whom they take into the cottage for Sir David's attention, only to find that he is dead. The rest of the play concerns itself with the way in which they seek to cover tip the accident in order to avoid the publicity which would accrue in such compromising circumstances.

Both the dialogue and the production are excellent, but one cannot help wishing that the author had chosen a less brutal solution, Nora Swinburne as Mrs Mordaunt, and John Wyse as Sir David Layering, manage to "live " their parts most successfully, and the play opened with an intersting scene by Gillian Scaife and Waldo Wright as Lady Lavering's parents.


St. Martin's

Little Revue I F you live in London (if you don't you can always take a train) you must see the Little netwe by Herbert Farjeon. If, if you do, you don't, you will live to rue it.

'if, if you don't, you don't, you will also rue it (if you live).

Anyway, I hope it is clear that the Little Revue is of the greatest interest to all. Nowhere in London is there such a feast of wit with such a refreshing absence of flow of soul.

Most of the revue is devoted to " blah "-debunking. The types of " blah " chosen are varied, and the majority of people, naturally, will be annoyed at some of the skits.

Unlike most peace-loving democrats I have a sneaking admiration for Chamberlain's policy of " appeasement however ineptly it may be carried out in practice. When, then, I found the " umbrella " policy skitted in a burlesque of continuous leg-appeal I clapped, and

clapped te d rleosuedrIvya, tbuht. with an explicit but mental

Other contemporary phenomena which have their metaphoric pants taken down are " native " girl dancers who make a noise like a bagpipe in time with a torntom, Chekov (easy game), Miss Beatrix Lehmann (who is, all the same, a fine actress) and " Magyar Malady, or, Hungarian Rupture."

Miss Hermione Baddeley and Cyril Ritchard led the hard-working and brilliant cast. The latter, as always, brought the house up all standing with his skits on the imbecility of Edwardian England. Joyce Grenfell's character sketches were a tour, as they say, de force. But it is difficult to single out performances for special mention. I can only repeat that the astringent humour of Herbert Farjeon and his players will be a joy and R blessing to all.

F. B. Little

The Kingdom of God

Sierra's The Kingdom of Cod, the play chosen by the students of the Old Vic Dramatic School, gave an opportunity wtoat great n d

t can of students to show


The life of a nun, Sister Gracia, as a

girl of sixteen-in her thirties-and finally in her eighties-is the theme of this very exacting play, and Miss Kathleen Hilditch played the leading role with sincerity and understanding. George Unwin as Gabriel, and Ian Morris as the Old Man, were particularly good, and Miss Birgetta Rydbeek's rendering of Margarita was really excellent. Mr Frank Napier, the producer, dealt with the setting and grouping of such a large cast very capably.

One cannot help wishing that the author had omitted the unconvincing marriage proposal to Sister Gracia in Act 2.

The performance was given in aid of the Royal Waterloo Hospital for Women and Children.


Old Vie

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