THEATRE: CURTAIN CALLS

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
Name that woman: Nixon appointed her as US representative at the UN in 1968, she was in Ghana from 1974-76 and Czechoslovakia in 1989. And the answer is... Shirley Temple Black, she who sang the title song from Animal Crackers: "Animal Crackers in my soup/ Monkeys and flagons Guadeloupe..."

Oh, OK, you got me. That's not the real lyric but if the Marx Brothers had got their hands on it, it might as well have been. Their stage show and film Animal Crackers bears all the hallmarks of their best material: high-speed, inspired absurdity and physical lunacy dedicated to the puncturing of pomposity (and bad puns). Indeed, should I be invited to describe their entire oeuvre, I would name it "Snook-cocking a gogo".

All that and Margaret Dumont too. You remember her - the gloriously long- suffering, stuffed sofa of a woman whose extravagant embonpoint and purse proved so alluring to Groucho in all his guises, in this case Captain Spaulding. Manchester Royal Exchange revived the show to tumultuous reviews and now they've lured Jean Challis to play Dumont's role of Mrs Rittenhouse. And just who is Jean Challis? Why, the voice of radio's late-lamented lunchtime request show Two-Way Family Favourites.

At the Lyric Theatre, London W1 (0171-494 5045)

Comments