The Playgoer

"Thorns and Orange Blossoms" Is a Most Affecting Sample of the Drama of the Nineties, Acted Sympathetically

The ultra-righteous and the infra-bad walked the boards of the Delta Upsilon chapter house last night, and will display their magnified virtues and vices again for the edification of Friday and Saturday night audiences. "Thorns and Orange Blossoms", this year's selection, is one of the most unrestrained of the lot of unblushing melodramas that evoked tears, hisses, and loud huzzahs from the playgoers of the nineties. Being for this reason one of the worst plays ever written, it becomes ideal material for the histrionics of a group of debonair young men.

But they have had the good sense to avoid deliberate burlesquing, and have let the play burlesque itself. The contrast of the serious treatment (at least fairly serious treatment) with the ludicrous pathos of the melodrama, is undoubtedly the funniest effect that could be obtained from the material. Much of the credit for this restraint is due to director Howard Mumford Jones, the well-known novel man. He has, however, let none of the grandiloquence escape.

William Welch '38, does brilliantly in his unsavory role of villain. His makeup is a triumph in depravity; his every gesture reeks of wickedness. Prof. Jones, having once played this very same role in a stock company, must be well pleased in his disciple. Another piece of really brilliant acting is turned in by Richard F. Rabenold '39 in a rather minor part, that of the grubbing pawn broker. Charles Tuttle '37 is both lovely and affecting as the long suffering heroine. But Howard Bristol '38 as her mother is a veritable revelation in matronly dignity. The actors are all surprisingly good.