'40s War Play Stays Funny
At last, a play that knows what women really want: Some of them want to get to the battlefront in wartime.
Female journalists were still a rarity during World War II, and the male press officers in charge generally did their best to divert them from getting near the fighting.
Two American writers, Virginia Cowles and Martha Gellhorn, who often successfully navigated the military bureaucracies of whatever country they were in, wrote a play in the mid-1940s that satirized their recent overseas adventures as female war correspondents during World War II.
Set in Italy in a fictional Allied press camp in the winter of 1944, their satire was given a title that irritated them greatly, according to a forward added by Gellhorn in 1995: “Love Goes To Press.” The comedy has been revived in a lively production off-Broadway by the Mint Theater Company, featuring an accomplished cast that successfully embodies the original humor.
Heidi Armbruster and Angela Pierce are both comical and charming as the two smart, attractive, intrepid writers. Pierce is down-to-earth and pert as Jane Mason, “internationally known, glamorous war correspondent.”
Jane is thrilled when her old friend Annabelle Jones, (Armbruster, slinky and worldly), unexpectedly blows into the camp, and the two are soon scheming how best to get either to the front line 8 miles away, or get dropped behind the lines in Yugoslavia or Poland. Conveniently, there are generals, aviators and other military men who enjoy flirting with them and providing transport to where the action is.
Director Jerry Ruiz does pretty well at keeping the 11 characters in constant motion, although the action slows down a bit in the second and third acts, when these self-possessed, independent women become farcically starry-eyed about their respective love interests.
Bradley Cover is fun to watch as Philip, the initially pompous British major in charge of the shabby press camp, who despises “woman correspondents” and deliberately houses the pair in a cold, tiny storeroom.
By AP, 04/07/2012