No Time For Comedy

Ethel Barrymore Theatre / April 24, 1939

(starring Lawrence Olivier / 185 performances)

No Time For Comedy opened April 17, 1939 and ran through Sept. 1939 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.

from TIME Magazine The Theatre / Monday, May 1, 1939:

"No Time For Comedy (by S. N. Behrman; produced by Katharine Cornell and the Playwrights Co.) brought Katharine Cornell triumphantly back to Broadway after a two years' absence—in the first full comedy role of her career.

In No Time For Comedy Behrman (perhaps transferring his own qualms) treats of a writer of comedies who wonders whether he shouldn't be more serious-minded. This beautiful notion is implanted in him by an uplifted, though agreeably carnal, society woman, and involves him in a mess of ideas about immortality and Loyalist Spain. It takes all the skill of the playwright's clever, patient wife (Katharine Cornell) to give his plays, and her life, a happy ending.

Less formidable dramatists than Behrman have had a go at this plot, but much of the time Behrman handles it with adroitness and wit. The trouble is that Behrman, a Frederick Lonsdale who reads The New Republic, too often makes sex a mere come-on for ideas, none of which he accepts. He is a kind of ideological window-shopper; or, like Pooh-Bah, a Leader of the Opposition, he feels he must resist what he approves of as First Lord of the Treasury.

As a wise wife who knows her own husband, Katharine Cornell brings to her role force and personality, but never the glint of Gertrude Lawrence or the purr of Ina Claire.

Return to Broadway Index