A comedy which can take its audience by storm is as rare as it is refreshing, but Mr. Osgood Perkins and Miss Sally Bates can safely be said to have achieved that lonely height in their current production at the Masque Theatre in New York.
The supporting cast does, and extremely well, just what the supporting cast in a play like "Goodbye Again" should do; it appears at the proper times and with the proper attitude to become the victims of the egotism of Mr. Perkins, and the suavity of his mistress and secretary, Miss Bates. But the one-sided encounter must have a turning point, and that comes when the hen-pecked Middle Western husband overcomes the "savoin-faire" of Miss Bates by calmly waiting all day with her for Mr. Perkins in the latter's hotel suite; the result is that Mr. Perkins is almost forced, upon his return, to reliquish his condition of single blessedness in order that the Middle Western husband may be relieved of his unloving wife, who is one of Mr. Perkins' none too restrained admirers. In the end, the situation is saved through the brilliance of Miss Bates; and it is delicious to observe the triumph of evil pleasantry over calm resolution, because the calm resolution gives way to consternation, and the evil pleasantry retains its philosophic if not obvious, calm.
"Goodbye Again" is one long bedroom scene; but its humor is not of the bedroom; only once is either of the beds in the play made a vehicle of comedy, and that is when Mr. Perkins wrestles with his blankets in a manner which kept at least one audience convulsed for more than two minutes. The humor of the play is like that; it is engrossing because Miss Bates and Mr. Perkins are able, through force of personality, to overcome the self-consciousness of their public.