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One of the advantages possessed by the playwright over writers of other literary forms is that when he produces a work with deficiencies that would ensure its speedy extinction in any other medium he may have it cast and produced so effectively as to make it a hit. Such is the happy fate that befell Mr. Barry, the author of "Courage" now playing at the Willbur.
Seen in cold type the plot, besides ending up with a sagging anti-climax, contains such venerable stage devices as the arrival of an unexpected legacy just in time to save the furniture from ravening creditors. But under the capable handling of a cast headed by Janet Beecher it takes on a plausibility and conviction that makes the final impression eminently satisfactory. Miss Beecher has the inherently unsympathetic role of a widowed mother who has squandered her childrens' patrimony through a combination of poor business judgement and extravagance and whose compensating virtues are limited to a determination to keep them-with her and a touching habit of buying roses when the source of the next meal is in doubt. In spite of the difficulties of the part it does not take her long to charm the audience into sympathy with her struggle to keep the family together and their support becomes almost vociferous at critical points.
A great part of this result is due to the effective work of Helen Strickland as the aunt who is her opponent. In a part evidently intended by the author to represent a typical New England spinster she exhales a frigidity and arrogant intolerance that makes it one of the most memorable characterizations of the season. Junior Blake as the youngest and incidentally illegitimate son who causes most of the complications of the plot and eventually brings it through right side up, handles a long part very capably, and the other members of the cast lend more than adequate support. All in all, the ayes have it by a large margin.
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