The Playgoer

At the Plymouth

Radio script writer Carl Leo's first attempt at writing Broadway, comedy has resulted in a clever and, at times, very funny play. But it falls down where most comedies of its sort usually to--when the inherent humor of the original situation wears thin and the action sinks to meaningless dialogue. The plot of "Never Say Never" is reminiscent of the "Voice of the Turtle"; a young couple named Coralie and Alex live together in a New York apartment without the formality of marriage because the girl wishes to retain her independence. Complications set in when a former hometown beau comes to visit Coralie, who forces her reluctant paramour into agonizing respectability in order to preserve her reputation back home.

Along the way the author manages to inject some witty repartee, but as the play now stands, the second act needs a good deal of bolstering. After the high peak of the first act, there just is not enough action to sustain the dialogue.

Unquestionably, the brightest part of the show is, Nita Talbot's portrayal of Gloria, the sexy dumb blonde living in an upstairs apartment. The only way to describe Gloria is to imagine, it possible, a composite of Judy Holiday's Billie Dawn and Tallulah Bankhead. Miss Talbot's deadpan delivery of the brightest lines in the play and her wonderful sense of timing stamp her as the outstanding performer in a capable cast. Anne Jackson as Coralie is light and easy to look at; Hugh Reilly as the sophisticated and suffering mate comes through with the proper nonchalance.

Director Robert Sinclair has succeeded in making the story move at a good pace most of the time, but he allows the comedy to slip into slapstick in several scenes. The set of a Greenwich Village apartment seems to be a little too cluttered; several times the actors found themselves bumping into furniture.

"Never Say Never" has been condemned in certain quarters as immoral and indecent, but it deserves no such label. It is an adult comedy obviously intended to be a farce and nothing more. The situation of an unmarried couple living together has been used may times before, and the humor is innocuous enough. Indeed, some New Yorkers may find the whole thing a trifle naive.