Fortunately, "The Women," presented by Max Gordon at the Colonial, is not the cross-section of American womanhood that many claim it to be. It is good, not particularly clean, comedy. Embracing a cast of forty women and presenting the thesis that the fair sex has just one thing on its mind, the play tries more to amuse than convince.
The Women are a group of New Yorkers, rich, idle, disillusioned. They include a novelist a perennially pregnant matron, a thrice-married dowager, an innocent, and two not-so-innocents. In the dozen episodes that make up the play one sees them moving in their little world, giving their ideas on men and marriage, with servants and hairdressers and mannequins also contributing their distorted little philosophies.
Miss Booth has subordinated the plot to her concept of society and her brilliant lines, yet it contrives to be moving in spots. Mary Haines, happily married, learns of her husband's infidelity from a manicurist, but too many of her friends have their claws polished by the same girl. The story is out; it is enlarged and twisted until the unwilling wife fices to Reno, letting her husband marry Crystal, form the perfume counter at Saks. For two years she lives with her children in seclusion, brushing up on technique. Then one day Little Mary comes home from visiting Daddy and drops the remark that Auntic Crystal isn't the saint she might be. From there it is not hard for the first Mrs. Haines to set old tongues to work and make herself the third Mrs. Haines.
"The Women's" modernity lies in its all-feminine cast and the unexpected frankness of their conversation. But few will find this particularly shocking, and the only jarring note is a brutal cynicism which creeps into the second act. Lois Wilson, as Mrs. Haines, heads an excellent cast which accelerates as the play goes on and finishes in a burst of contagious cuthusiasm.