Curtainup Founder & Editor Elyse Sommer's Epilogue -- I've passed the torch for reviewing and editing new theater productions on and off-Broadway and elsewhere. However, I'll continue to sound off here with my take on Live and Onscreen Entertainment. As for Curtainup's extensive content since 1996-- it's all sill available at

Saturday, July 9, 2022

A Special Offer from the Invaluable Mint Theater

Curtainup Founder & Editor Elyse Sommer's Epilogue -- I've passed the torch for reviewing and editing new theater productions on and off-Broadway and elsewhere. However, I'll continue to sound off here with my take on Live and Onscreen Entertainment. As for Curtainup's extensive content since 1996-- it's all still available.   However,  when  yoo  send  your   browser  to    the  now   archived  website  that  allows  you  to  still  access  all  the   content   posted   since  its  launch  in 1996  it  may   pop  up  with  a  message  about  unsafe   content.  If  you  ok opening  it,   you  will   land   at    Curtainup's    original  site  with  links  to  everything.   That  includes  features  and  blogs  I  still  posted  there   during  the  last   two   years.

Saturday, July 2, 2022.

A  Special  Offer  from  the  Invaluable  Mint  Theater   to Screen  One  of Their  Filmed Productions  FREE


My first   essay  in  this,  my  new digital   platform   will  be  along  soon.   In  the  meantime   this  test  post  of  a    very  brief  current    opportunity  for  a  free  screening  opportunity at the Mint's website at

And  as  long  as  I'm  posting  it--  I'm  including  my  review  of  the  live   press  performance  I attended  in  2018.

Review  of  Conflict  in  2018

 Even  the  Mint Theater's  many fans  of  a  certain age  aren't  old  enough   to have ever seen any  of  British playwright-actor  Miles Malleson's plays.   Actually,  no one could  have  seen Malleson'sYours Unfaithfully since  it  was published but   never produced,  which made  last year's production  a world premiere .

 Conflict unlike Yours Unfaithfully   did enjoy  considerable success.  It  had a well received   London run in 1925, and was  made into a movie in 1931. Still,  given how long ago that was,  it  fits Mint artistic director  and chief archeologist Jonathan Bank's mission to  give  forgotten  plays the  Mint treatment.  That  means  a  handsome,  well  acted  production. —  which  Conflict  as astutely  staged  by   director Jenn Thompson  at the   Mint's Theater Row home, certainly is.

Like George Bernard Shaw's  "discussion"  plays, Conflict, though billed as a love story,   also fits  that Shavian  genre since it's   something  of a debate  about  multiple social issues. But,  even more than Shaw,  Malleson  avoided  preachy polemics by skillfully  using romance and snappy   dialogue  to  tackle   the politics  of  economic inequality, women's  rights and less restrictive male-female relationships.

What's more, given the  increased empowerment  of  the very rich and  privileged  all  around  us, as well as   the  #MeToo movement, this love story set in  the roaring 20s and revolving  around a hotly contested election,     has  a  remarkably  au courant flavor.
 To  keep  things moving along at  a  fast, but still leisurely feeling pace,
Director Thompson   has   streamlined  the three-act  play   into  two parts.  The first two acts are conflated  with  one   scene to cover each act,  and  the third act's  two scenes    winding  things  up  following  the  intermission.   

Except  for  the third act's opening scene, the entire 2-hour long  scenario  unfolds  in the elegant sitting room  of   Lord Bellingdon's (Graeme Malcom, a perfect lord of the manor  who gets to deliver some  of  the best lines in order to flaunt his prideful belief  in  his  enttled status).  To  start  things  off,  we  have a scene that establishes  the relationship  between Bellington's   younger  conservative  friend,  Major Sir Ronald, Clive (Harry Clarke,   a charmer  but  just as locked into his class and its mores as Lord Bellingon)  and  Bellington's  daughter,  Lady Dare (a delicious spoiled rich girl  evokes a sense of being ripe for reform).     Lord Bellington  welcomes Clive's romance with  his daughter, but  he's  unaware that they've been sleeping together for several years —  very much a no-no in  those days.     Lady Dare    is  perfectly happy   this illicit  arrangement, which makes her given name  slyly symbolic.  But    Clive  feels  he  is  betraying  her father and would like  them  to get married.

Hovering over Dare and this  late night  eircle is  the ominous  presence of  a strange man  mysteriously  hanging  out  in  the garden.   That mystery  is  entertainingly  and  enlightningly  ratcheted  up  in  the next scene in which Lord Bellington and Clive  confront  this stranger.  The stranger turns out  to be, not a  burglar  but a  down-on his luck  fellow named Tom Smith (Jeremy Beck, convincingly  portraying a man  journeying from total despair  to man with a mission),  who knows  Clive from their days  at  Cambridge.
As  for  the  above mentioned   election  campaign that drives  the   plot, by the time the intermission rolls  around,     Clive,  who's   the sure-to-win candidate of  the firmly entrenched  Conservative  Party candidate,  has   unwittingly  enabled  Smith  to  become  his  quite  formidable  opponent. True to his   gentlemanly  value system,  he as well as  Lord Bellingdon have  promised not  to  reveal  Smith's  minor  (but to them major) unlawful act.  

To ratchet  up  both  the  political and  romantic situations,   hearing  Smith's  campaign speeches, puts a dent in    Lady  Dare    heretofore  unquestioning alliance  with  her  priveleged class.  Clearly,  both personal and  political conflicts   are  bound  to heat  up  for  a  slam-bang ifinale.

While  the opinionated Lord  Bellingdon,  his  daughter   and  the  two  rival candidates  areConflict's  pivotal  characters   the cast also  includes  two minor characters  who   make  major  contributions:  Jasmin Walker  as  Lady Dare's  sophisticated and  wise  older friend and confidante  Mrs.  Tremayne and Amelia White  who is  hilariously  but  amazingly  on  the mark  as  Smith's  landlady Mrs.  Robinson sum  up what  they  say.

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