To Criticize a play by making fun of the people who see it may be a trifle unfair, yet "Somebody's Luggage" is of a weight so nicely fitted to the shoulders of its audience that we may be pardoned for the roundabout method. Those who go to such a play desire neither the delicacy of an English comedy, nor what we often have in a French one, a hinting at things not said. They want and they get a typical American force, a Kaleidoscopic series of incidents (the plot foreseen from the first) built around the ability of the leading character to be funny.
The silly channel steamer with it unreal label of noise, the London house with its utterly unEnglish inhabitants are not made real because in a very reasense they are merely the stage upon which Mr. Powers reels in his drunkenness. We do not complain that this is so. The American farce is an genre as another and we enjoy Mr. Powers.
It is a pity that there should be included in every play that even touches on an English household the pitiable and ridiculous figure of the love-sick slavey. There must be growing up a professional caste of those who from mother and daughter take this role. It is perhaps why such passable ability of that of Miss Bryton is in this case wasted. Also the hero (we call Mr. Powers the buffoon) rushes through his sentences with rapidity which we may only explain by assuming that he knows their worthlessness and superfluity. There used to be a tradition of a certain American terseness and nervous directness in speech. It was a silly exaggeration but the pea dulum has swung back too far.
We think it of the pedant to be event referring to first causes and fundamental principles, yet we cannot help remarking that the secret of Mr. Power success as an actor lies in his belonging to the noble and illustrious family of buffoons, of his being of Rabelais Tristam Shandy and Till Eulensprege.
There is in his violent excess a forcing of gesture and expression and in his voice a great deal of medieval exaggeration and burlesque. It is not fine art and to the intellectual it may grow the some, yet for the good of the world must never cease to make laugh.