Deep Emotion Felt in Play
Gloria Birdwood-Smith has the capacity, always to be valued in the theatre, for conveying genuine and deep-seated emotion.
That is probably why her production of Wynyard Browne's "Dark Summer" for the Brisbane Repertory Theatre, in the Albert Hall last night, was unusually moving. The play, which tells the story of the rehabilitation of a blinded ex-serviceman and the vain love for him of an unattractive Jewish refugee, is naked tragedy.
If there had been the slightest insincerity in the production or in Miss Birdwood-Smith's playing of the refugee, it would have become embarrassing. Fortunately there was not.
Gerry Greet, although inclined to exaggerate in her first scene, also gave an outstanding performance as a neurotic, post-war, slacks-wearing English spinster. Irene Alexander gave a quiet and convincing portrayal of morality-cramped goodness.
Geoffrey Baker had scope for his bottled-up style of playing as the ex-serviceman, but also showed signs of a new ability to unbend. Estelle Stone, the young girl of the piece, was reasonably competent, but inclined to move her head too much when she began to speak. The play will run until Saturday night.
Roger Covell, Courier-Mail, 5 May 1954