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Reading Of Modern


An exceedingly interesting experiment took place last night at the Mercury Theatre, when a skilful quartet under John Appleton's guidance pre- sented "Dragon's Mouth "

Written by Jacquetta Hawkes and J B Priestley, this modern morality was devised to be read instead of acted It con- sists of semi-academic discus- sions on life, lo\e and immortal- ity among four characters ap- parently meant to represent cer- tain contemporary spiritual dil- emmas The situation attains some slight theatrical piquancy because it is found that one of them (who remains unknown) is faced with certain death

The first part is virtually a popularisation of various ideas from Hcrachtus to Nietzsche, the second is a scries of indivi- dual confessions in which the people concerned, masks on, fumble towards a common faith Unfortunately everyone talks in the same rhetorical man- ner the speech is nearly always decked out with metaphor, pre- tentious word-play and a lecturer's loquacity, and the potted philosophy is inclined to sound (at first hearing anyway) discuisivc and sometimes even drooling

But the reading was vci> cleverly arranged Eric Starling, Marco Lee, Birrie Cookson and Junee Cornell compnscd the cast, and thc\ managed, through the exercise of sheer personality, tp infuse dramatic warmth into the otherwise coldly garrulous pioccedings

The only fault was an occa- sional tendency towards vocal undcr-emphasis, as though a microphone was Inndy to pick up and magnify any lines that happened to be tossed away -


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