Saved from "The Lake" by a "Holiday" in "Bringing Up Baby," Katharine Hepburn has again sallied forth in a stage venture, this time a contemporary satire by Philip Barry. And from the wholehearted response to "The Philadelphia Story" last night it is apparent that the star of the Bryn Mawr graduate has risen anew in the popular firmament. Miss Hepburn has chosen this time a fast, clever vehicle, enabling her to display the richness of her virtuosity as a comedienne.
The freshness and vitality of her performance are qualified only by the occasional drawbacks of the play itself. Certain lines--especially in the first act--come too fast for even the most hardened crack cracker; the story, containing one case of mixed identity, virulent satirizing of Henry Luce and the "Fortune" outfit, and a complex love relation, verges on the obscure. But individual scenes, such as Miss Hepburn's "interview" of "Destiny's" reporters in the first act and the love scene between Van Heflen and Miss Hepburn in the second, show real brilliance, and give to the play an underlying significance. With his great understanding of human nature, his comedy rhythm, and his feeling for words Barry stands among the first rank of American playwrights.
As kid sister to Tracy Lord (Miss Hepburn). Lenor Lonergan proves that not all child prodigies are in Hollywood. Borrowed from the Mercury Theatre, Joseph Cotten proves that some good guys can be found among the rich. Also outstanding are Shirley Booth, as the sharp, brittle-tongued photographer and Van Heflen as the liberal, wealth-bating and Luce hating reporter.