by: Sandi Durell
When two female journalists decided to write a play about their exploits during the war (WWII), it was a sheer lark. They knew nothing about theatre and barely went to see a play. And that’s how “Love Goes to Press” began, written by Martha Gellhorn and Virginia Cowles. The farce is now being revived at the Mint Theatre with a talented cast of players. After its initial 1947 Broadwayrun of five performances, it was time for a revival of this delightful comedy. Set on the Italian front at the Press Camp, Poggibonsi in 1944, the lives and loves of journalists and military staff are key to this charming time warp. Bold feminists Jane Mason (Angela Pierce) and Annabelle Jones (Heidi Armbruster) are the fast talking gals who love their freedom and their jobs as globe-trotting war correspondents and can do just fine (or so they think) without men.
The play is an amusing look at the comings and goings of the female press, the dialogue playful, all set in a design (Steven C. Kemp) of a quasi-looking military office for the constant comings and goings of the players. It’s an adventurous romp thru the lives of Mason and Jones, as they seek excitement in their careers but love looms large for Annabelle Jones being reunited with her ex Joe Rogers (Rob Breckenridge) who, in Gellhorn’s real life, was Ernest Hemingway. The only problem at the moment is that Rogers is now engaged to singer Daphne Rutherford (Margot White) who is squeaky with delight especially when it’s all about her.
Mason wants to settle down in peace and quiet with white picket fence, have someone tell her what to do (so she thinks) and finds romance with Major Phillip Brooke-Jervaux (Bradford Cover), who seem to make rather strange bedfellows. He is ready to take her away to live with his mother and sister in a little village in England where she can learn to hunt. The love scene is especially charming as they express their feelings for one another while plaster falls and bombs explode. Well, love can sometimes do that.
There’s lots of witty repartee as Jones flies off with Dickie (Thomas Matthew Kelley) to Poland for a scoop; mistaken identities as Capt. Drake (Peter Cormican) attempts to way-lay Mason from going off to the frontlines for a scoop, winding up with Daphne instead. Meanwhile, Leonard the Press Camp secretary (David Graham Jones) has insinuated himself as technical manager for the soon-to-be Hollywood movie he believes is on the horizon when Daphne scoops them all. Zany, wacky – – yes.
Just when it seems that all chances for love are about to fail, it’s an all’s well, that ends well! There are many moments of chuckles in this farcical romp directed by Jerry Ruiz. The period costumes are by Andrea Varga and lighting by Christian DeAngelis. The play is approximately 2-1/2 hours with two intermissions.
“Love Goes to Press” at the Mint Theatre on West 43rd Street thru July 22, www.minttheater.org