THEATRE : By W. J. IGOE
CARRINGTON, V.C. (Westminster)
An R. ALEC CLUNES played the J.V.Iltitle role trailing clouds of Edwardian glory. One thought of the young officer in The Four Feathers cocks and stern in Sam Browne's, cocks and stern in Sam Browns, guarded the Khyber Pass or rotated in the crypt when the scion let the side down. Major Copper Carrington, V.C., was on trial for (a) thieving from Army funds, (h) playing truant from duty to ride in a steeplechase, and (c) misbehaving with a lady. But stay. As always was the case with A. E. W. Mason and Maud Diver, there was more in the multiplicity of situations than met the eye. "Copper" may have been impetuous, but he was an officer and a gentleman, at least in a way that seems to derive from Kipling through a score of lesser, more lady-like writers. Mr. and Mrs. Campbell Christie have a case against the financial treatment given Army officers; any onewho_has read the excellent studies of this subject in theDaily Telegraph knows the authors had a scandal to expose.
Unfortunately, obsessed by injustice, they have kept their talents
for characterisation—as witness His
Excellency—in control too stern, 'I hey concentrate upon the inevitable drama of a trial by court martial, for
getting a court martial is composed of human beings or it is not dramatic. Here, too often, we saw cliches of comedy and melodrama, the funny fat sergeant, the silly young officer, the noises from the barrack squale, the pedantic lawyer. Mr. Clunes, handsomely the actor manager, gracefully, sweepingly gallant. musically tight-lipped, added to the Edwardian atmosphere. Mr. Victor Maddern, as a cocky. resentful bombardier, was freshly
authentic, and Miss Rachel Gurney as a sad, vain neurotic wife. touching and terrifying. That admirable actor,
Mr. Arnold Bell. was true as the president of the court. and Mr. Mark Dignam and Mr. Robert Bishop most commendable.
I should add that the audience seemed hysterically approving.