10 DECEMBER 1948, Page 13



‘. Oranges and Lemons." An Intimate Revue. (Lyric, Hammersmith.) Taus admirable entertainment, which seems bound to reach the West End shortly, and to stay there for a long time, is in the Farjeon tradition. That is to say, it assumes in the audience a reasonable level of intelligence and sophistication, it has elegance and good manners and it is intimate without being arch. The lemons are noticeably better than the oranges, for the romantic or sentimental interludes (always excepting. " And Marathon Looks On The Sea," which has great charm) are below the standard of the sketches and monologues ; but there are not very many of them, and of their harmless, necessary kind they are perfectly adequate examples. A feature of the revue which seems in these catty and allusive days almost daringly original is its lack of malice. Miss Diana Churchill, playing with the Edinburgh Festival as a cat plays with a mouse, lets it go in the end with unexpected and engaging clemency ; Miss Marjorie Dunkels, impersonating with great skill various well-known actresses, is content to be life-like without also being lethal ; and even the musty traditions of the D'Oyly Carte company are lampooned with such geniality that their most sensitive upholders could hardly take offence. Among the numerous authors whose talents have been called into play by Mr. Laurier Lister, the producer, Mr. Alan Melville and Miss Joyce Grenfell stand out with assured distinction ; but I hope that more will be heard of Mr. Simon Wilkes, whose Quiet Honeymoon betrayed that rare thing, a feeling for pure nonsense. Among the players Miss Diana Churchill was startlingly good in a wide variety of roles, Miss Elisabeth Welch sang with virtuosity and infectious gusto, Mr. Max Adrian made an immense number of good points with suave and always effective precision and Miss Rose Hill was extremely funny. whenever she had the chance to be. Oranges and Lemons is a friendly and beguiling show, and has, in addition, the abstruse distinction of being (a) the first production of its kind for some time to contain no reference to Mrs. Braddock, and (b) the first production in the history of British drama to include, among the various enterprises which have supplied it with accessories, the National Coal Board. PETER FLEMING.