23 JULY 1948, Page 13



" Written for a Lady." By Leo Marks. (Garrick.)

Tors is a bad play. Bad plays, like bad human beings or even bad horses, generally have some redeeming streak about them ; they may, for instance, be unintentionally funny, or the origin and nature of their plans may engage the interest of those who have to assess them. Of all such perverse attractions Written for a Lady, is, unhappily, destitute. It has one true thing in it, or rather one thing that has its roots in truth ; the blind or anyhow convincing love of an old Jew for his worthless son. But this relationship is presented with so false an emphasis, so tasteless a mixture of melodrama and facetiousness, that it arouses embarrassment when it ought to evoke compassion.

The plot concerns a letter written by a lady, now dead, who was a great and inspiring public figure. This letter reveals the hitherto unknown fact that the lady had secretly married the old Jew's gaol- bird son, and is therefore News. In quest of it come two of the senior executives of a magazine (a rather unusual type of magazine, I thought), who hang around the Jew's bed-sitting-room for the best part of a fortnight. One of them is a girl, and she falls in love with the young Jew (now out of prison and practising as a spiv); the other, a man, spends his time being elaborately rude to the other characters. And so it goes preposterously on for six mawkish scenes. Miss Margaretta Scott does all that anyone can do for the female journalist, and Mr. Clifford Mollison, as the old Jew, totters about with considerable virtuosity, bowed down by griefs which we cannot

share with him. Not recommended. PETER FLEMING.