The Playgoer

AT THE WILBUR

The Crimson Playgoer hopes he has not lost all his credit by praising "There's Always a Breeze," which he thought was funny, but which was apparently not funny, because it would be too bad if no one were to take any stock in the praise about to be lavished on Roland Young in Clare Kummer's new comedy, "Spring Thaw." The theme of this play is certainly no startling innovation: it is a recitation of the difficulties encountered by a middle-aged man trying to retain possession of both his giddy young wife and his wits. Nor is the dialogue, as written, particularly lustrous. But the play, as played, is certainly one long provocation to laughter.

"Spring Thaw" was written for Roland, and his peculiar talents are catered to throughout. All that was necessary was to put the most obvious analysis of every situation into the tersest from and the simplest language, and to count on Mr. Young to do the rest. For example, when it is offered as an excuse to invite the doctor to dinner that he is still there, Roland drily explains that he won't be if he leaves. Some of the humor is indeed more complex than this sample. Some of it is even vaguely satirical. But none of it is funnier than his mumbled, halting, nonchalant announcements of the ultra-obvious. And that is somehow extremely funny.

There is, naturally enough, a comic-strip incompetent artist, the variant of the impoverished count, who serves as the specious attraction for the foolish young woman who misses the sublety of her husband's quiet charm. This one can't even elope with the wife on the husband's money, because he doesn't know how to open his new billfold. He is ably played by Guido Nadzo, and the foolish young thing by Lillian Emerson. But whenever Mr. Young is off the stage, the audience is manifestly waiting for him to come back.