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G. B. Shaw, as you know, is just turned ninety, and, while some of his work has remained with us in its original freshness, "Arms and the Man" contains much that has become somewhat thin from constant wear. This, combined with a production by Elliot Duvey and a Boston Tributary company of mixed abilities, files the stage with diversion not unpleasant but rather strained.
The "chocolate-cream soldier," again Shaw's realist among a group of romantic faddists, provides the tongue with which the hirsute wit is able to spit his epigrams on man, war, and the state of things. Duvey, wagging the tongue weakly on this stage, managers, from time to time, to reiterate--in slightly more colorful idiom--that "diseretion is the better part of valor" and that "he who fights and runs away..." The play might to disregarded in favor of its preface, which, unfortunately, was not circulated beforehand.
Edward Finnegan, and elderly gentleman who naturally portrays the elderly Major Petkoff, seems the only character capable of conjuring up any comedy. The others, in their assorted attempts to build emotional rhapsodies, burlesque the Shavian wit rather than convey it. Settings, neatly done by Matt Horner, demonstrate his expertness and the effects achievable by an outfit operating on a shoe-string basis.
The Boston Tributary Theatre obviously lacks a strong organization, and its productions are good, bad, or indifferent as one member of the company expressed it, "depending on who's around." with such a hit-or-miss system, it's only a gambling theatrical spirit that can carry you to something worthwhile. Performance to follow we "Julius Caesar," "Dr. Faust us," "Macbeth," and "Romeo and Juliet." With the odds as they are, you might be better off in bed.
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