Monday, 20 August 2012

His Girl Friday

The reviews of MTC's production of His Girl Friday have been good, but one description refers to it as a "screwball comedy".   If you like this type of thing, fine.    I have to say, plays tending towards slapstick with Chicago accents are not at the top of the list of things that I usually find entertaining, but even I enjoyed it because it's very well done, the timing is mostly excellent, there's lots of energy and much of the dialogue is very witty as well as being of relevance 70+ years on (although at least a passing knowledge of the world scene as it unfolded during 1939 is helpful).

This satire of tabloid journalism was apparently first produced as The Front Page and then as a film His Girl Friday. The current play is said to be a combination of the two.  It's set in the press office of Chicago's criminal courts in 1939, the day before the  hanging of "cop killer" Earl Holub .  His crime is a case of bad timing, as the the Mayor is up for re-election and wants to be seen as the person who gets rid of a terrorist, thus distracting attention from a number of grimy issues.  In the meantime, top reporter Hildy Johnson is trying to move on from the Chicago newspaper scene.

Pamela Rabe and Philip Quast play the leading roles.  They don't miss a beat and are well supported by the rest of the cast.

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