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James Thurber and Elliot Nugent, in addition to a gift for epigrammatic turns of phrase and scintillating repartee, have that ability which Sinclair Lewis has shown in his better novels--the ability to take people, exploit their every characteristic facet until they are a group of caricatures, but create caricatures which are exaggerated only enough to make them more vivid and real and not so much as to make them meretricious and ridiculous.
The cast of the Cambridge Summer Theatre has caught this spirit of the authors of "The Male Animal" and have not stretched the comedy of the play to a point where it becomes farce. Conrad Nagel, in the lead role of a youngish college instructor befallen victim to a Red-baiting campaign, interprets with keen feeling the predicament of the man who finds that the seeker of truth must travel alone and that the lonely path is hard to follow. As the "half-witted, half-baked halfback," Edmond Ryan fills a difficult role more than adequately. And Irving Locke gives a performance equal to the achievements of Walter Brennan on the screen in his role of the dean who for forty years played appeaser to the stadium-building alumni. Only Betty Kelley as the emotional wife falls short of the generally high standard of the production. Billed as having previous experience on the Lone Ranger program and as a professional model, she may be the originator of "Hiyooooo Silver" and certainly was a "before" model for "before and after" corset advertisements.
The play could not be spoiled by any cast which so much as learned the lines. With so competent a cast (with the one exception) as Manager Beckhard has assembled the drama is well worth seeing--especially since students who present their bursar's card will be given a discount on the admission price.
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