The Martha Gellhorn and Virginia Cowles autobiographical, satirical and downright old fashioned three act comedy Love Goes to Press may have been written in 1944 but it was light years ahead of its time in its depiction of two independent, savvy and attractive women who went into a “den of men” in worn torn Poggibonsi Italy to report first hand on the goings on from the front line while depicting the guys involved with razor sharp wit as to their male chauvinistic bearings.
Throughout the play we see how the “men” treat the “women” – “War is no place for a woman” – “We’re reporting a war; not a gossip column.” And in Act III you will be heartened by the vocal reactions of the audience when Public Relations Officer Major Philip Brooke-Jervaux (a grounded and wonderful Bradford Cover) who has fallen rather quickly in love with his nemesis Janet Mason (Angela Pierce) describes what he believes will be her idyllic life living in England with his mom and sister. When he says, “You’re mine now.” one truly believes that the audience will storm the stage as he expects Jane to give up her writing career for cows. She instantly goes from independent to coy to being rightly horrified.
The Mint Theatre has a knack for finding the obscure and giving those plays excellent productions. Love Goes to Press is no exception. The production values are high and the acting uniformly good. Although director Jerry Ruiz gets a bit heavy handed with light and sound cues (shells being exploded, lights being dimmed and some atmospheric music) when Annabelle Jones (Heidi Armbruster) relives a romantic past with her ex Joe Rogers – loosely based on Gellhorn’s marriage to Ernest Hemingway (Rob Breckenridge).
Writing for competing papers in San Francisco Joe has a nasty habit of stealing his beloved’s stories and drinking a lot. In fact, most of them have a flask or two hidden away somewhere. After all it’s cold and lonely at the front.
Joe is now involved with and English actress – Daphne Rutherford – the third Jill in a jeep. Margot White is delightful as she take full command of the stage with her winning sing song portrayal – a woman more concerned with a chipped nail being re-polished than with war itself, that is until she is mistakenly taken to the front lines instead of Jane returning triumphantly waving her American flag and praising all the soldiers. She’s a standout in this excellent company of actors and has the quickest offstage bath ever.
Also to be commended are David Graham Jones as Leonard Lightfoot a true Englishman who stories are lifted from his typewriter by Tex Crowder (Jay Patterson) and Hank O’Reilly (Curzon Dobell). Corporal Cramp (another well grounded performance – Ned Noyes) supports his boss Major Jervaux ably. Thomas Matthew Kelley as Major Dick Hawkins is naively infatuated with Annabelle and Captain Sir Alastair Drake (Peter Cormican) is responsible for the Jane/Daphne mix-up leading to almost farcical happenings.
Perfect period costumes (Andrea Varga) and set (Steven C. Kemp) and props (Joshua Yocum) make for a very pleasant and sharp look into the lives of women reporters during the war and their dedication and persistence in achieving their goals.
www.minttheater.org Photos: Richard Termine
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