THEATRE: By W. J. IGOE
'THE UNINVITED GUEST (St. James's)
IDELIGHT in melodrama. Blood in squiggly pools on the library floor. the body of the baronet in the pantry. cannibalism in clubland: the atmosphere of the lady who walked the Bloody Towet with tier head tucked underneath her arm sends me into raptures. Consequently I should have enjoyed Miss Mary Hayley Bell's entertainment; I found in it clanging echoes of CEdipus, an eerie piece by Hugh Walpole, a suggestion of D. H. Lawrence at his most violent, and a hint of the early Mr. Emlyn Williams, the playwright, Add to these, for sweetening, the peculiar talents of Miss Joan Greenwood, Minnie Mouse F"Leaking through a throttle jammed :h syrup, and one should have been fascinated. I wasn't.
True the piece is not wholly offensive. It has Mr. John Mills. the only actor in England capable of playing the range of contemporary English types without a hint of grease-paint. Like Mr. Paul Kelly. the American, Mr. Mills is one of the very few good actors who does not look like an actor. The gift is rare and priceless. Here, surmounted by a red wig, he plays a young man who has spent the best years of his life in a home for mental deficients. He had been incarcerated by an unnatural mother.
"Candy," the red-headed victim, returns to the angcstral home. His mother, played with masterly hoodwinkery by Miss Cathleen Nesbit. casts out htnts, wrings her hands and conveys. to the audience, at least, that all sorts of dire things may happen. All that comes of this is the beginnings of a mild love affair between the young man and a younger woman. the latter essayed by Miss Greenwood. The twain, it transpires, are brother and sister.
Mr. Clive Morton gives another of his delicate. humorous sketches of bluff Englishry —there's an actor— and Mr. Lyndon Brook once again shows himself a most reliable and thoughtful "juvenile."
Miss Greenwood's affectation of
voice has to be heard to be believed; even then it is difficult. And the affectation now extends to her gait. Is Beatrix Potter her favourite writer? Has Me, Walt Disney been talking to her arent? Would she like the whole big aching heart of male and middle-aged England to take her, so to speak. to it? One of her best friends should answer one of these questions and tell Miss Greenwood.
Apart from the play and Miss Greenwood, those. like myself, who love, lave, good acting, might do worse than hie themselves to the St. James's and contemplate Mr. Mills. Miss Nesbitt and Mr. Morton.