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The Hollow Crown

at the Wilbur Theatre for two weeks

By Anthony Hiss

A cat may look at a king; so I suppose that one must concede to Mr. John Barton the right to concoct an evening of 35 monarchal snippets from 1000 years of English history (he calls them "an entertainment by and about the Kings and Queens of England,...men and women like you and me.") Fortunately, the maxim does not require us (you and me, that is to say) to look at Mr. Barton and his fellows as they debase the monarchs to make them palatable to a democratic audience by smirking, giggling, and vulgarly overacting.

Joining Mr. Barton in The Hollow Mockery are Mr. Max Adrian, who fancies he is amusing as an effeminate and disgusting ambassador of Henry VII; Miss Dorothy Tutin, who fancies she is an actress, and proceeds to read a sketch of the Kings of England by the fifteen-year-old Jane Austen as if it were the work of Baby Snooks; and Mr. Paul Hardwick, who is plain enough. Musical interludes are provided by Mr. James Walker, a harpsichordist,--Mr. Barton, luckily, seems to have been unable to devise a way of making the harpsichord funny--and by three gentlemen of indeterminate voice who give the worst performance of the "Agincourt Song" in more than 500 years.

Much of the material is too well known already (e.g. "The Vicar of Bray" and Richard II's lament about the "death of kings") and most of the rest had been better left in darkest obscurity (to wit, "A Ballad to an Absent Friend" by Prince Albert, and Beethoven's variations on "God Save The King").

The Boston critics loved it.

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