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'Never Too Late' Proves Entertaining

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‘Never Too Late’ Proves Entertaining  

By Ted Rancont, Jr.

(News Drama Critic)

Those who go to the theatre with long faces to learn about life won’t enjoy the Civic Theatre season opener, “Never Too Late.”

Everyone else will.

An inconsequential comedy with nothing to say, the show pouts and hippity-hops its way agreeably under the airy hand of director William Taylor.

Taylor has a way with subtle slapstick, both verbal and physical, and knows how far to overdraw a character. So does playwright Sumner Arthur Long.

Between them, Long and Taylor made it difficult for a generally competent cast to go very far wrong. No one retained a thought or a line or a character beyond the exits, but the audience did carry smiles out the Trueblood Theatre doors. Considering the froth with which the players were working, that is an accomplishment. The cast and director created the definite impression they could have handled a more substantial vehicle at least as competently.

Chief pouter of the evening was Bob Reinhart, playing father-after-forty Harry Lambert as a lovable grown-up boy.

Firmly in control of the hippity-hop department was Reinhart’s spouse, Veitch, who played Lambert’s spouse, Edith, with verve in an aggressive performance that lost steam only once or twice.

Mike Simpson created a fine loose drunk as Charlie, and elsewhere brought good definition to the nondescriptness of the character, in the play’s most demanding role.

Spouse Barbara Simpson played Charlie’s first fashionable and finally frazzled spouse, Kate, well but predictably in a performance that lacked surprises.

The rest of the cast of nine was fairly uniformly “read-y,” but fortunately didn’t occupy the stage long enough to break the rhythms of the four principals. 

Designer Don Stewart's naturalistic living room would be more effective on a picture frame stage, but is one of the better-appointed sets Civic Theater has mounted recently.

Nothing more than an evening’s light entertainment, “Never Too Late” also is nothing less.