5 JANUARY 1974, Page 17

Will Waspe

Critics who have opined that the congregation of communists in Trevor Griffiths's National Theatre play, The Party, are no more than cardboard cut-outs with little flesh-and-blood reality, perhaps lead lives too sheltered and insular. I was myself disposed to doubt the verismiltiude of the gathering until, in the bar at the interval, I encountered an English, Hampstead-based Journalist who works for the Tass agency.

"I have never seen a play in which everybody was so instantly recognisable," he said. "I wish I had a rouble for every party I've been to in London that was just like that one."

Danny girl

Waspe cynically wonders whether Danny La Rue's announcement of his retirement after his present show at the Prince ',Males ("I'm' hanging my tits up at last," he said) is to be taken altogether seriously except as an astute publicity gimmick.

If the female impersonator should be later persuaded to change his mind, he might be encouraged by an entry in Pepys's diary about Edward Kynaston, who, in the fifties, played the heroine in a play by Fletcher, and who, the diarist confided, was "the loveliest lady I ever saw."

Who's boss?

When there are 'differences' between a film director and his leading actor, who wins? If you'd bet on the director showing who's boss, be cautioned by the affair of a film called The Hot Cold-War Man, which Ken Russell began directing last month with Oliver Reed starring. Russell is no longer directing it ( he left in the first week of shooting), but when the cameras roll again for a new director, Reed will still be playing the lead.