SWITCHBOARD JANET IS SO HAPPY
"BELLS ARE RINGING"
(Coliseum) is a triumph of personalits. The personality of red-headed Janet Blair, Remove Miss Blair from the cast and you are left with little else butt a well W01-11 plot, and some music that is no more than pretty.
The story is that of a small message carrying switchboard service and Janet Blair is one of the operators. Inevitably she gets involved with one of her clients, an unsuccessful playwright (George Ctaynes) whose career takes several turns for the better when he meets, and falls for, Miss Blair.
The production is fast, we have conic to expect that from the Americans. and it is happy. The Cast was happy, particularly Miss Blair who was patently having the time of her life, but, even more important, the audience was happy too
Even a had play with Robert Beatty in it has something that the average play without him has not: this stated, it must he acknowledged that "The Happiest Millionaire " (Cambridge) has very little else to recommend it. In it he plays the part of the odiously self-centred father of a family who secs all his family as flattering little projections of himself. As he is most eccentric (as well as very rich) this is lengthily proved to be a pity.
In particular, trouble comes to the daughter of the family, Cordelia, who in the teeth of her father's scorn gets herself sent to L conventional finishing school and elopes from it with the young heir to tobacco fortunes. Angier Duke. The play is mainly taken up with describing the reactions of Angier and his mother to Cordelia's family. It is the crocodiles kept as pets which mainly get them down.
At one point. a dreaded reporter from the local scandal-sheet gatecrashes on a pre-wedding party and writes it all up in his paper the next day. At another, there is some exciting ju-jitsti. The costumes (pre-Great War) and the set are pleasing to the eye.
It would all have made a good musical. But, as a play, it fails sadly although various individual performances are good: Robert Beatty. blustering, goodhearted hut indomitably selfish as the father, Daniel Massey as the
gauche tobacco fiance, and Maureen Swanson as the pert Cordelia.