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Interesting Play in Spite of Artificial, Unnatural Plot; Miss Bushnell Stars

By J. D. J.

Samuel Shipman in his 'Lawful Larceny' has attempted to prove to Public Opinion what he suspected it already knew; that it is unfair that safe robbing should be a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment while the theft of another's peace of mind, love, and husband are outside the jurisdiction of the law. Thinking that his audience would more readily accept this thesis if it was at first hidden, then dressed up as new, and finally revealed in its true aspect as a grenerally acknowledged truth, Shipman has lifted his moral into the end of the third act as sort of a roof under which he builds the rest of the play. His construction is laborious and often times forces him to the 'cut and fill' method of work that he may make his material last till he joins the roof and the body of the building. He finally succeeds by lavish employment of mortar in the form of numerous clever lines and a number of proverb-like utterances that expand the whole into a very presentable structure.

Adelyn Bushnell, the unfortunate wife whose husband, love, and peace of mind were stolen from her gives an unusually creditable performance. It is her heart-felt sincerity in the last act that fills the rather large gap left when Shipman's mortar gives out. Forced at times by the author to speak like an oracle before the judgement of the wicked, she does it without the appearance of incongruity that might be expected. Walter Gilbert, her husband is alternately the victim of the pity and derision of the others and on the whole manages to bear it well; and in fairness it must be said that the role of gullible husband is a thankless one. As Tarlow, the perfect lover, Mr. Darney is indisputably good, doing double service as the final agent of the forces of justice and as a never failing source of comic relief. Miss Roach his a hard task as the heartless thief of love and husbands and does it well; alternating with grace between the gracious lady and the unfeeling gold digger. The rest of the caste, Mark Kent as Judge Perry and Anna Layng as Mrs. Davis especially, maintain the high average set by their associates.

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