25 JUNE 1948, Page 13

" A La Carte." Book and Lyrics by Alan Melville.

Music by Charles Zwan. (Savoy.)

A La Carte (which to judge from certain discrepancies in the Programme has been overhauled and strengthened since the first night) is really excellent. Mr. Melville-has perhaps too blind a faith in the entertainment value of semi-private jokes about his colleagues in the theatrical. profession, but that is a minor criticism. His sketches have point, his songs are topical as well as tuneful, and Mr. Norman Marshall's production is skilful and assured. Miss Hermione Baddeley and Mr. Henry Kendall lead the revel's with an effectively disarming air of doing so against their better judgement, and they are supported by an admirable cast including two dancers —Cappella and Patricia—who are very much to the taste of the audience.

There are two very funny skits on rival productions ; in one we meet for the first time the Edward whom Mr. Morley left out of the cast of Edward My Son, in the other we see a salacious (but entertainment-tax-free) Restoration comedy in which, since the cast learnt their lines from a contemporary edition of the play; the letter " s " is pronounced throughout as if it had been the letter " f." In The Boyhood of Raleigh (after Sir John Millais) an agreeable note of pure nonsense intrudes, and Mr. Kendall knows very well that there is really no need for him to be so apologetic about his becoming lapse into nostalgia for the Edwardian glories of Romano's. There are a lot of other good things and only very few poor ones, and Miss Baddeley can seldom have been funnier. The revue has in a con- spicuous degree that unity of atmosphere, that feeling of coherence and continuity, which so many revues lack ; and Messrs. Melville and Marshall are to be congratulated on a neat, gaudy piece of work.