The Playgoer

at the Opera House

I'm the kind of a guy who would gladly travel to the Opera House and pay the price of admission just to see Bobby Clark flick ashes in a poor play. Last night I did just that. I saw Mike Todd's latest, a trinket--it looks like about a third of a million dollars' worth of trinket--called "As the Girls Go." The show was lavish, polished, populated with every pretty girl this side of Billy Rose--and dull.

At about this spot in a review you usually find a reference to the inimitable Bobby Clark who will save the whole shebang from a fate worse than bankruptcy. It grieves me to report that not only is the heretofore exuberant Mr. Clark imitable, but also that with a few exceptions he isn't worth imitating. For an old Clark afficionado those are hard words to utter, but there they are. The show, as it stands, is a clinger.

Its failure at satire completely smothers the other side of the production's personality, a typical Bobby Clark farce. You cannot hinder Clark with lines and stage directions and still have him come across the footlights. Gone are the painted glasses and most of the leering at naked women; gone are the usual bits of business with canes and other props; consequently, gone is the pure pleasure of viewing Bobby Clark.

If Todd is as shrewd as most people think, he can still save his box office. He has the elements of a money maker. He has the exciting dancing of Kathryn Lee. He has the songs of Jimmy McHugh which, if they remind you that you have heard them somewhere before, still prompt you to want to hear them again. That is saying a lot for modern show tunes. He has Irene Rich for the female lead. He has a million lovely girls and two million sponge rubber falsies. Most important, he has two weeks in Boston. In this time he can throw away most of the story, cut the love interest, further undress his girlies, put the spectacles back on Bobby Clark, and let him run wild--barefoot.