Sugar with a pinch of salt
By JOAN NEWTON
Tv and Radio. We seem to he A. having very generous helpings of life stories lately on the radio. Actors, actresses, prime ministers, famous broadcasters, and occasionally poets have had hours or half-hours dedicated to their memories.
All very nice and varied to please all tastes if only, occasionally, someone could say something just a little bit unfavourable about the personage in question. It would he refreshing once in a while to hear someone say: "I just couldn't stand the fellow."
There is so much sweetness and praise in these portraits—especially those coming from the entertainment world—that we can only take these "Life Stories" with a pinch of salt. Writers have been handled more sensibly, though even they could have a hit more caustic treatment.
Last week, for example, I listened with great pleasure to an hour's programme about Roy Campbell. the poet, who was a Catholic. As it was advertised as being a portrait by his friends. I suppose one would hardly expect to hear any unpleasant remarks about him during the programme.
Even so. I think the feature might have had a bit more bal
ance if we had heard a few of his critics as well. I have always admired this poet very much and this programme certainly strengthened my admiration for him.
LOUISA M. ALCOTT'S "Little Women" was a great success when it was televised earlier this
year. Now its sequel "Good Wives" has appeared.
When our favourite books or plays on the sound-radio (as with "Jennings") are made into television versions, we wait for the first instalment with some anxiety. The play can so often be ruined for us because the actors do not five up to our own private interpretation of the characters.
The boy actors in "Jennings' arc perfect, if a bit too tidy looking. Master Jennings himself is played by a cherubic looking devil called John Mitchell who rather spoils his acting by gabbling his words ton fast. The school-masters, Mr. Carter and Mr. Wilkins, are played by the original sound
radio actors and it is nice to hear those familiar voices saying the familiar words.
But Wilfred Bahhage, as Mr. Wilkins, the usually harassed classmaster, looks much too prosperous and unruffled. I hope he gets a bit more worn-looking before the series is over.
"Good Wives" has not yet got far enough for detailed comment. It was disconcerting to find a new "Jo" in the family. Everyone had been so perfect in "Little Women" that the newcomers, Annabelle Lee and Jill Dixon (Amy), will have quite a job to equal the earlier successes.
IT seems very odd that Marc
Connelly's play "The Green Pastures" is not allowed to be presented on the live theatre, though B.B.C.'s television version last Sunday must hays reached hundreds more viewers than the play could ever expect to reach. thought this endearing play of the simple Negro's conception of God. Heaven. and the Bible story was magnificently presented by Eric Fawcett in association with the author.
The Lord. dressed as a Negro minister, was nobly acted by William Marshall. The whole cast, in fact. were superb. As the choir was directed by George Mitchell, the singing of negro spirituals was Ii rst-class
This was a really memorable play, and would have been far more suitable for presentation earlier in the year in Passion Week than the unpleasant Eugene O'Neill play we were then given. ! wish the TV drama department could be a little more liturgically minded and keep the Christian calendar in mind when they plan their plays.