Those who are amused to see crude and rather unattractive old men making love to snappy young widows and suffering all the tribulations that are entailed in making themselves appropriately presentable; and those who enjoy seeing simple-minded, timid, young gentlemen involving themselves with innocent but ardent young ladies, saving the day finally through sheer dumbness, acquiring a few millions for themselves into the bargain, should go to see Bronson Howard's "The New Henrietta", at the Repertory Theatre this week.
It is a well-written play, developing some exceedingly amusing situations. It is an old comedy, brought up to date by Winchell Smith and Victor Mapes; but the fact that it happens to deal with gambling on a gold mine in the New York Stock Exchange and that the word "piker" seems to form a rather insufficent basis for its being advertised as "American."
Bertie, the simple-minded bashful young gentleman is excellently acted by Milton Owen, being easily the best actor on the stage. His self-possession and unexaggerated performance go far to make the play very amusing. Next in the line of able performance comes the crude old man, Nick Van Alstyne, portrayed by Thomas Shearer, who, though a bit forced in the first act, becomes much more convincing and amusing as the play goes on-especially in his practicing how to appear and comport himself correctly in the presence of the snappy widow. The widow Olga Birbeck carries off the honors among the women-folk, particularly in the last two acts.
The fact that Nick Van Alstyne's son-in-law tries to ruin him after having been handed a profitable business by old Nick and that said son-in-law gets into difficulties with another lady furnishes the background for the plot of the play. The action and the humor of the play are centered around "Henrietta," of whom there turn out to be three. On the whole, though the play is not uproarious from start to finish. It is amusing and there is plenty of action and much laughter to be had, especially in the third act.