Sad Little Stories
Sentiment And Sympathy In Period Pieces
Period pieces are the vogue, and this charming, inconsiderable, beautifully made play, with its bitter-sweet, Cavalcadish air is a sure-fire success in today's London.
Old Music is the story of the silly girl, the clever girl and the bounder. It is set amid London's gentlefolk of eighty years ago—in Rex Whistler's Victorian drawing rooms and nurseries, and there is the usual sort of triangular intrigue.
Geraldine, the silly girl, is Miss Greer CI-arson, pretty, blatant and brainless. She is born to be forgiven, and she falls in love with a soldier while she is all-but wedded to a noble lord. The soldier (Hugh Williams) is a bounder—something more than a cad but still not bounder enough. But he fell in love with the poor relation (Celia Johnson), the chill and clever Judith (the epilogue shows her turned into a successful novelist). They foolishly married. Geraldine married the rich peer. When they met again there was trouble . . . tension . . . anticlimax . . . pathos.
" You are sorry for me because I am such a fool," Geraldine moans. " But shed a tear in passing for the slightly more intelligent," is Judith's bitter remark.
Mr. Keith Winter proves himself to be not only a first-class playwright up to all the tricks, but also a very sympathetic writer. He has given all his none-too-good characters charm, and his story, never heavy, held our heart and attention till the end—the drama at the close was not needed. Even if he has written a fashionable play it is not just a trifle, it is a sad little story treated with just that skilful touch of sentiment and sympathy that makes the audiences relish it—while the author stands on his philosophic vantage point, and shrugs. J. G.
Dramatist John Van Druten is a photographic artist who reproduces life exactly as it is. Without any crude descent into overstatement or any imaginative ascent into understatement, he has given us an absolutely realistic likeness of domestic life in 1911 London in his new play, Gertie Maude at St. Martin's Theatre.
It has enormous personal appeal—this realism of Van Druten's. It makes an
audience feel part of the proceedings, it initiates them into the intimate life and into the subsequent tragedy, and gives them an at-home feeling about both the drawingroom world of the Frazer family, and about the " below-stairs world in the kitchen of Mrs. Bessey.
Each member of the audience has among his " in-service friends such a cook. rotound and sentimental as Mrs. Bessey (Florence Wood), such a cook's relation as chorus girl Gertie Maude (Carol Goodner), vulgar, but big hearted, austere housemaid Annie (Joan Swinstead), her attractive but erring brother Will (Griffith Jones), in love with nursemaid " got-me-pride " Doris (Jill Esmond). And among his " served" friends are many such gay and kind Aunt Phyllis and her fiancee, Rags Cartwright, and many only child daughters like Sheila (Annabel Maule), who is so segregated from real experience by her worthy parents that she has to make up for it in wild melodramatic inventions for her toy stage.
All these are penny-plain ordinary people and the play turns around their ordinary reactions in two-penny coloured extraordinary circumstances, mixed up with suicide, despair and melodrama. The recipe is a good one. I. C.
Collins Street's Books
A catalogue of upwards of 160 pages sets out, in the non-fiction section alone, the authors and titles of thousands of volumes on the shelves of the Central Catholic Library at 352, Collins Street, Melbourne. Established only a few years ago, this library has now sixteen thousand books, covering, as the Archbishop, Dr. Mannix remarks in a foreword, almost every phase of Catholic thought and interest, besides being a real Power House of Catholic Action.
The Melbourne library circulates upwards of 60,000 books yearly, not in the city alone but far afield, outside the boundaries of Victoria and even outside Australia. Among its many periodicals the Catholic Herald only finds place.