In spite of certain marked weaknesses in the construction of the play, "Coquette" is worth an evening any time. It is excellent dramatic entertainment, and it may here be said that the success of the play depends entirely on the number of dramatic situations which the authors have been able to devise. But were it not for the very high standard of the acting, it is to be feared that many of these situations would not register at all.
Upon the shoulders of Helen Hayes, Charles Waldron, Bryant Sells falls most heavily the burden of making "Coquette" convincing. It is around them that the tense situations are spun, and it is through their telling characterizations that this play has been put across.
There is barely enough body to the play to make the situation created ring entirely true, but this is easily over-looked as are certain confusions arising from the legal turn which is taken in the final act. The constant interplay of the frivolous with the tragic, makes one forget the obvious flaws as the audience is carried from the tittering stage to one of extreme tension.
All the characters speak in southern dialect, and to these northern ears seem to do it convincingly. But it is in this field that one discordant note rises. Amidst all this soft speaking the casting of the younger brother of the heroine has been such that the actor speaks in the nasal accent of toity-told street. This is really to be regretted as it is thoroughly jarring to pass from the melody of Helen Hayes to the harshness and total lack of southern accent of a supposed brother as impersonated by Andrew Lawlor Jr.
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