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The Playgoer

"There's Wisdom in Women" Amusing Sophisticated Drawing Room and Bed Comedy

By S. M. B.

Kissed by the sunny approval of summer audiences at Locust Valley this past July, Joseph Kesselring's "There's Wisdom in Women" presents its sophisticated smile for a week's run at the Colonial before it ambles on to New York. The Playgoer's more serious colleagues of the Boston press have not liked Mr. Kesselring's offering and it is with the double pleasure of aloneness that he raises his humble voice in approval. The Playgoer enjoyed "There's Wisdom in Women" and he thinks that, with the exception of the worthies of the fourth estate, so did the glittering first-nighters.

The title comes from a line of Rupert Brooke, but is otherwise harmless--there's nothing Brookeian about the play. In smart and sophisticated fashion it tells the story of a great pianist who is as skilled with the ladies as with the ivories. His wife doesn't particularly mind his penchant for tarts but when he finds a cultured and knowing tart she gets worried and decides on strategy.

In the past ladies have been easy pushovers for the great Nordoff, but Cecilia Wandover knows her numbers and realizes that the only way to get Nordoff away from his wife is to deny him that which has hitherto been the goal and end of his playing about. Mrs. Nordoff loves her faithless spouse and is confident that she is essential to fulfillment of his career.

Realizing that under the proper circumstances the inevitable can be forced to precede the usual formalities, Mrs. Nordoff tricks Cecilia into believing that the way to the alter lies through the bed. Nordoff scores a Phyrric victory and is presently back in his wife's arms. All this familiar activity may or may not prove the assertion of the title, but it is performed to the tune of skillful and fresh dialogue by a company of thespians whose ability justifies their prominence.

Walter Pidgeon as Nordoff is the perfect artist--highly emotional, moody, egoistical, but a boy at heart. Ruth Weston plays Mrs. Nordoff with such charm and mature talent that she runs off with the play. Glenn Anders is given all too little to do, but succeeds in playing a manager who doesn't cavort about with the extravagant boisterousness we have been forced to suffer from the run of managers, performing the role of Nordoff's manager and man Friday with quiet charm which is a grand relief from the extravagant boisterousness which most players lend to such a part.

The very, very pretty Betty Lawford is a bit cinematic as the defeated tart and Frances Maddux does well although her main talent for singing naughty ballads is quite dragged in by the heels. Jane Bancroft (one of the local debbies) does rather nicely as Ella, the serving girl--a democratizing experience, no doubt. John Root's stage so is a magnificent variation on the duplex apartment idea.

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