The Playgoer


"There's Always a Breeze" is a rollicking farce relying on a favorite comical incongruity, a mousy little man seeking notoriety. A teller in a bank, about five feet two inches tall and an excessively mild and unemotional disposition, suddenly finds fame thrust upon him, for as the supposed killer in defense of a beautiful woman, he is the idol of the nation. The extravaganza with which this plot is unfolded, the surprise twists in the last act and some satirical comment on social climbers, women with pasts, publishers of "pornographic pulp," shysters, bankers, female adolescents who go in for studied moods and histrionics, and male adolescents who are tough, are the chief virtues of this lively, highly amusing comedy by Edward Caulfield.

There are some obscure points in the plot that would cry out for clearing up if the play were to assume the standing of a murder mystery. Inasmuch as it bases all its claims on its excellent comedy of character and circumstance, however, the discrepancies in the story may be ignored. But one confusing element would seem regrettable: first the little teller promises his wife that someday he will be rich and famous; then his sensational adventure comes about apparently as an accident. The result is that the slightly bewildered spectator doesn't know whether to regard him as the epitome of respectability that he has always seemed, or a Borgia in disguise. This uncertainty does not add to the interest. There is an amusing uncertainty springing up in the third act, however, over whether the little man actually made the kill that he is so sure of, or whether his glory is to be snatched away from him by some one else's having fired the deadly pistol while he fired blanks.

William Lynn as the diminuitive hero is charmingly casual throughout his confessions and the gradual confirmation of them. His role is so exaggerated that it could be filled only by an actor of the right appearance as well as of the requisite skill, and fortunately Mr. Lynn has both. Cecilia Loftus is a splendid old rake of a mother-in-law, who surveys the career of her son-in-law with no illusions, and advises her daughter his wife to be faithful or the opposite with a realistic view to the husband's fortunes. Blanche Sweet is quite satisfactory as the mild-mannered wife. Leona Powers in a somewhat younger duplicate of her mother, the hero's mother-in-law, both of them being especially moving when having partaken freely of their "cough medicine." As light merriment without a mesage, this comedy will probably take its place beside "Yes, My Darling Daughter" for a successful run.