Ingeniously Entertaining look at Love

With the aid of 36 authors ranging from Genesis to Anon. , John Donne, Ogden Nash, and the Rolling Stones, Terry Hands has devised a most ingeniously entertaining look at love in his Pleasure and Repentence. It is regrettable that this charming show was only seen for a one-night stand at the Abbey last night, and all the more so since it brought Norman Rodway back to an Irish stage for the first time in ten years. Forty-three items, presented with a whiplash precision, were so uniformly good that at the end my programme was pock-marked with double plusses, but special happiness was engendered by Miss Brenda Bruce's recital from Marjorie Fleming's Journal. Her Satisfaction, and her Mickey Spillane trio, with Alan Howard and Rodway. Mr. Rodway brought a nicely judged lustful puritanism to his Perils of the Dance, and Mr. Howard read Donne's To His Mistress Going To Bed quite as beautifully as Miss Bruce read Hardy's Tale of Two Wives in the second half, where Alan Howard again gave a beautifully muted reading of Hazlitt's Arrow in the Heart. We had the proposal scene from The Importance, an hilarious extract from the Pooter saga (Howard again) and a delicately balanced reading of Auden's Victor - which could be dynamite if it wasn't held at the right mote - from Rodway. The whole show was packed with joys. My only fault was with Martin Best, who sang most agreeably to his own guitar accompaniment, but who should, in Dublin of all places, have taken the trouble to learn the proper words of She Moved Through the fair.

Seamus Kelly

Irish Times, 18.3.1970

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