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The Crimson Playgoer

"Fulton of Oak Falls" is George M. Cohan in His Usual Blend of Middle-Aged Mellowness

By E. C. B.

Cohan and Harris reunite after a long separation to present "Fulton of Oak Falls" and to add another piece to the former's gallery of middle-aged portraits. They give us Mr. Cohan "in his own way of telling the story of Parker Fennelly's" work of the same name, and the product indicates that Mr. Cohan is thoroughly the major contributor.

As proof of his enduring identity, Mr. Cohan is exactly the same person as he was last year in "Dear Old Daddy". A steady, solid, unstartling business man with a constant flow of good humor and dessicated sentiment is again overwhelmed by a rush of romantic events, with which he has had no experience of coping. The first scene sees him happily free; the middle of the second act sees him thoroughly enmeshed; the final scene sees him once again disengaged, through no dramatic denouement or artistic solution, but rather through the magical effects of Mr. Cohan's simple integrity, aided by the industry of some excessively loyal friend.

Mr. Cohan, the one-role actor, has selected for his one role a character that both appeals to a wide sector of every audience, and gives free play to his peculiar talents. The modesty of the character in his circumstances and of the actor in his histrionics are bound to be winning. Ant then a certain embarrassed chuckle, sometimes developing into a full-grown roar, is the answer to every complex situation and is just as effective in provoking mirth as lines of clever comment could be. While Mr. Cohan's horse sense and homely goodness are well-calculated to captivate the middle-aged security-lovers in audience and play, it is not so easy to understand their fabulous effects over pretty young things. Can it be a touch of personal vanity that makes him have the lovely girls in his shows fall desperately in love with him? His money was explanation enough in "Dear Old Daddy", but his love for Tennyson sounds a little weak in the current piece. But the charms of Mr. Cohan's personality, such as they have been indicated to be, are enough to compensate for the crudities of the plot, the flatness of the dialogue, and the general sameness of the whole series of his vehicles.

The support is rather uneven. Highest honors go to Gilberia Faust as Fulton's (the hero's) mother-in-law. Her vanity and crabbed selfishness are drawn to perfection. Jessamine Newcombe as Fulton's wife does well in a none too flashy role. Elaine Tilson acquits herself nobly in the slightly ludicrous role of the attractive young woman who sneaks into the stodgy hero's room at night to hear him read Tennyson and makes a pretty direct plea for his affections. But Francesea Lenni as Fulton's daughter, the center and cause of most of his troubles, is singularly awkward and amateurish in the rendition of most of her lines.

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