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There's a lot to be said for an evening of quiet, amusing entertainment, with any social significance so deeply buried that there is no point in dragging it to light. When you can watch two such talented performers as Helen Hayes and Jules Munshin in the bargain, it almost seems worth while to abandon exams for the evening and go to it.
One warning is in order, however; you must like, or at least not loathe, child actors. Authoress Mary Chase, remembered for Harvey, has seen fit to build this "comic fantasy" around two little children, one male, one female, and neither invisible. Robert Mariotti and Lydia Reed, who take the juvenile parts, both fall into the "cute" category, I'm afraid, but both are pretty good actors and never let their scenes become maudlin.
Miss Hayes and Mr. Munshin run the show when they're on. Both are masters of the aside, and both use it to good advantage throughout. Munshin tends to overdo his swagger and his wheeze sometimes, but is otherwise a thoroughly enjoyable character as the leader of a "mob." His two mobsters, played by Everett Chambers and Guy Raymond, are stock caricatures. (Raymond's part, incidentally, is that taken on Broadway by Fred Gwynne '51, who performed on the local scene a couple of years ago.)
Miss Hayes gives a wonderful performance, covering a wide variety of emotional tones. Her part seems so loosely constructed, in fact, that it is often difficult to know just what sort of character she is playing. The whole play actually suffers from looseness; if it were not held up by two high class performers, it would probably lag badly at many spots.
The plot is not much to speak of. It deals basically with a mother's smothering love for her son, and enables the performers to toss off a few pseudo-philosophical remarks of apparently little significance and more than a few good jokes. As long as you don't approach it like a Social Relations case study, Mrs. McThing is excellent exam period-type entertainment.
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