3 SEPTEMBER 1943, Page 11

Spanish Village." Unity Theatre. " Flying Colours." Lyric. " Variety

Comes Back." Palladium.

THAT admirable institution, the Unity Theatre, has many interesting plays to its credit, but nothing that I have seen there so far quite equals the present production of Spanish Village, a translation and adaptation by John Greene of the play Fuente Ovejuna, by the great Spanish dramatist, Lope de Vega (1562-1625). The play is about the part played by the villagers of Fuente Ovejuna in the struggle between the King of Portugal and Ferdinand and Isabella in the year 1476, and is remarkable for its vivid picture of rural Spanish life of the period. But its presentation at Unity is worthy of a first-rate repertory theatre. The costumes and setting by Bernard Garron and Kenneth Capon are an example of how much more important brains and taste are, artistically, than money. They are simple, unpretentious but absolutely right • of an unusual excellence,. also, is the handling of the crowds, the music, and the dancing. In addition, the most important part of the village maiden, Laurencia—a female character worthy of Shakespeare—is superbly played bry Maxine Audley with a rare freshness and sincerity. Excel- lent in its way, also, is Rene Poirier's performance as the village bard and jester, Mengo. But there is a remarkable artistic quality about the whole production that is perfectly delightful.

How clever Binnie Hale is, and how hard-working Douglas Byng and Jackie Hunter! They contribute most to the new revue Flying Colours, which is varied and ingenious enough to please many. But it cannot be said that they have been given much in the way of good material to work on • a single revue writer of real talent could have transformed the whole show into something far better, but the revue writers in fashion at the moment are like the present fashion in hairdressing (which, by the way, does not suit Binnie Hale at all), they detract from rather than enhance what Nature has given. The best number is the one about Nelson and Lady Hamilton, in which Binnie Hale as Ladly Hamilton sings Rule, Britannia in a very charming and even moving manner. The Pal- ladium has its own special audience—an immense one—which finds its variety shows vastly entertaining. I am excluded from this great company.• I find Maurice Colleano worth seeing as a clever acrobat and Max Miller worth studying as a social phenomenon—for, unfor- tunately, he does not make me laugh. The rest of the show seems to indicate that the large vein of talent which used to enrich the oldtime music hall has completely dried up.

The Sadler's Wells Ballet has returned to London for a fresh season at the New Theatre, and opened last week with an excellent