Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Play House Romps Through "Toreadors"

Cleveland Press March 25, 1965

An aging general bellows at his nagging, bedridden wife; casts a covetous and caressing eye at the shapely maid; and dreams romantic dreams of a girl he met long ago at a military ball.

It is all there in the lines of Anouilh's play. But even more, it exists in the movements, the looks, the actions, the grunting and posturing of William Paterson in the role.

So excellent is his characterization that you might overlook the craftsmanship, the attention to detail that goes into it.

THE ROLE, just as the play, is a mixture of many things -- of comedy and farce of pessimism and bitterness, of a negative outlook on life. For the present this is a general with a too big waistline, but in a moment there are the recollections of another day and the aging soldier becomes a young, carefree handsome soldier once more.

He has remained faithful to his supposedly ailing wife though he cannot stand her. For 17 years he has loved -- but always at a distance -- a girl he met while waltzing at a ball.

For his attitude in these two matters, the only good things he has done, fate punishes him. This is the cynicism underneath. Overall there is the high hilarity of a farce, lines that are biting and humorous.

SALLY NOBLE is lovely as the fragile beauty who has waited too long for her would-be lover. Rhoda Koret an offstage voice most of the time but on stage for one wild scene, is perfect as the nagging wife.

Ignore Anouilh's philosophy if it bothers you -- this is still one of the funniest plays around and this Play House production realizes all of its comic possibilities.