and Laughing Too. Smiles the Exception When Frank Lalor and Grant Mitchell Are on the Stage. High Comedy With No Lapses
Seldom since the first appearance of Charlie Chaplin has any audience laughed so continuously as at the first evening of "The Whole Town's Talking". The play was so chock full of clever sayings, funny situations, and pure farce that every minute had its sixty seconds' worth of laughs. And when not laughing, there was Catherine Owen to look at--and this certainly was no come-down. On the whole "an enjoyable evening was had by all" who were present.
The plot was laid in Sandusky, Ohio. Whether the Simmon's home was situated on Main Street or not was left to the reader's imagination. Probably not, because most of the characters were attractive. But the street certainly ran parallel to Main Street, and there was a distinctly small-town background, out of which the title of the play was taken.
The plot, briefly, was as follows:--Daughter returns from Chicago, with society gentlemen in tow. Papa's junior partner (Grant Mitchell) puts on bright clothes, and cuts out society gentleman, with the aid of an artificially colored past. The past becomes the present in the person of a motion-picture actress (Catherine Owen). --Audience employs opera glasses at this point. Thereupon the past and the present become inextricably mixed, the lights are turned off, and some minutes later the hero is disclosed perched upon the chandelier, while the two villians lie blood-smeared in a corner. Hero descends and assumes heroic attitude. Heroine rushes in, and the future is prophesied in the usual way. (Curtain).
The bare facts are interesting enough, but the dialogue and the acting carry the whole to the peak of success. Frank Lalor, as Papa, has a way of making his face do his acting for him. It is he, almost as much as his junior partner, who makes the thing go. June Bradley, as Daughter, does well in a rather less interesting part; while Lucin Moore, as Mama, improves on the usual type of dowager lady.
The play could hardly be called "deep", even though the character of the hero is compared to "still waters". But it has every excellence which a lively comedy should have, and will probably make its title an actuality--in the theatre town of Greater Boston, at least.