- CHARITY BENEFIT
The Mint Theater Company has some of the best sets (Steven C. Kemp) and lighting (Christian DeAngelis) around and re-creates plays that haven’t been done for a very long time. I like a lot of what The Mint does, so when Martha Gellhorn and Virginia Cowles’ “Love Goes to Press,” came across my desk, I was excited. Sadly the play is not very good.
Taking place in 1944 our destination is a shabby press camp in the Italian countryside. Allied troops are advancing on Germany, and in this male chauvinistic world, Annabelle Jones (Gellhorn) and Jane Mason (Cowles) descend much to the dislike of Major Philip Brooke-Jervaux, the prudish British officer who is in charge. Romance, of course, ensues as the Major falls for Jane and Annabelle has to cope with the presence of her ex-husband, Joe Rogers (Gelhorn was married to Ernest Hemingway, from 1940 to 1945). Rodgers is engaged to a self serving British singing star Daphne Rutherford though he and Annabelle still have feelings for each other. As Annabelle and Jane plan their separate behind-the-lines missions all hell breaks loose on every side imaginable.
Director Jerry Ruiz has his actors talking in sing song so the tone is sleep inducing. Not good when a play is close to 3 hours long.
The cast is spotty, with the minor characters Leonard Lightfoot (David Graham Jones), Tex Crowder (Jay Patterson), Corporal Cramp (Ned Noyes), and Major Dick Hawkins (Thomas Matthew Kelley) doing the best work. The women Daphne (Margot White), Annabelle (Heidi Armbruster) and Jane (Angela Pierce) were all over the top, but maybe it was the writing and direction. Joe Rodgers (Rob Breckenridge) and Major Philip Brooke-Jervaux (Bradford Cover) just don’t generate spark or energy and all of the accent fades in and out.
What was spot on was Jane Shaw’s sound design. For a trip down memory lane and a look at those old war films, this show will be for you.
Love Goes to Press: Mint Theater Company, 311 W. 43rd St., 3rd floor, until July 29th.