If you should wake up tomorrow morning and through the course of the day find your home-loving mother being courted by a roue, your august father succumbing to the soft inpeachments of an ogling actress, your elder sister flinging herself at a married artist, and your younger brother making love to a woman who enters and exits over the garden wall, you doubtless would retire to bed in the evening, very willing to "call it a day." Dodie Smith has conceived of just such a situation and she has fittingly dubbed her play "Call It A Day." After the delightful performance of the Theatre Guild cast last night we feel compelled to mock again, and without exaggeration call it a red letter day in our enjoyment of comedies.
A superficial consideration of the plot gives an appearance of setting out in all directions at once with only a few of the vectors ever returning together again. Philip Merivale and Gladys Cooper who play Mr. and Mrs. Hilton start the morning with a kiss. During the day each has his brief lapee of fidelity, though never of real love. But at the end of the day they confess all to each other, and the final curtain drops as they are affectionately holding hands between their twin beds. This section of the plot is the only complete cycle in the play. Catherine Hilton, the elder daughter, is last seen weeping from the bruises to her unreflected love, while Martin Hilton ends us definitely in love, but with no nupital climax. Even the new maid has a been whom she meets when she takes the bulldog out. When we dig below this surface disturbance of affairs and young loves we find Dodle Smith's deeper theme to be a contrast of love in its weaker and stronger manifestations.
The Theatre Guild production of "Call It A Day" is a thoroughly polished and perfectly cast performance. Philip Merivale and Joan Dante perhaps stand out a little above the rest of the cast, but it is rather unfair to make any such general statement. Gleun Anders as the adamant artist does a beautiful job of repulsing love-sick Florence Williams.
The entire Theatre Guild season promises to be at least up to its usual excellence with "Call It A Day" heading the series.