The Braggart Warrior

At the Loeb through Saturday

Some very funny people have happened to Plautus on his way from the Loeb Library to the Loeb Drama Center. They are, in chronological order, Erich Segal, David S. Cole, Drew DeShong, Samuel Abbott, Kenneth Tigar and Patricia Fay. Among them, and with the help of several others, and with the help of several others, these wonderful people have made of the Braggart Warrior an exuberant, filthy, and altogether magnificent show.

* Mr. Segal has translated the play into idioms that, for all their cleverness, alternate for the most part between the archaic and the Joosh. To his eternal credit, however, he has managed to preserve both the metres and the mischievousness of the original.

* Mr. Cole, the director, has put on display his whole bag of tricks, (an enormous repertory of comic devices), and has accelerated the play's near-breakneck speed.

* Mr. DeShong has designed a series of costumes that cleverly mimic a variety of human organs.

* Mr. Abbott is the warrior himself, and never was miles more gloriosus. One had feared that his new trimness. Rest assured; it is not so. Mr. DeShong has built him up to Tweedledum dimensions, and Mr. Abbott is free to play Zero Mostel, which he does to perfection: swaggers, poses, attitudes, the works.


* Mr. Tigar plays the warrior's neighbor--an old fishwife of a man--and he is in his element. His senile craftiness is equalled only by his engagingly simpleminded delight in the machinations of others.

* Patricia Fay, excellent girl, is the warrior's kept woman; and she, too, is as she never has been. She shuffles liquidly in front of every male on stage and touches up her eyebrows with the bored competence of a real professional. She is obviously having a great deal of fun.

* Others includes Eric Martin, who I am conscious of not liking nearly so well as I ought to. Mr. Martin, an inventive slave, is busier than anybody else in showing how deucedly comic he is, and no doubt that's the way Roman comedy really was played; I, however, was horribly enervated by it. It also includes Lynn Milgrim, a glorious courtesan in net stockings and high heels, and Kendra Stearns, her maid, who assumes a pleasantly nearsighted stare every time she is confronted with an unpleasant situation.

Have I left anyone out? Please overlook it, for there is an explanation. It is a very nice thing when a grim old reviewer can go to a local comedy and just laugh and laugh. Hats off to the Loeb; it has come of age.