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Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois • 25

Chicago Tribunei
Chicago, Illinois
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Chicago Tribune, Monday, May 12, 1980 Section 2 9 Tempo at 'Hay Fever Noel Coward's favorite sneezes at sophistication Find the right job for you in. the biggest market in print-Chicago Tribune classified pages. By Richard Christiansen "HAV FEVER" comedy by Noat Coward, alrsclad by David Ml. with Mt by Jeffrey Harris, cottumas by Arnold Lavina, and lighting by Tarry Jenkina. Opened May at Marriott's Lincolnshire Theater on Milwaukee Avenue ust south of Halt Day Road, and plays at 2 and $:30 p.m.

Wednesday. 1:30 p.m. Thursday, 9:30 p.m. Friday, 6 and 9:30 pm. Saturday, and 3 and 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, through Juno 22. Tickets are 18.50 to St 2.50, with discounts tor students, groups, senior citizens, military personnel, and subscribers. Dinner-theater package available tor an added J11.7S. Phone 634-0200. THE CAST Sorel Btiss Kenned Macrver Simon Ken Lend OEL COWARD, who wrote it, once said that 'Hay Fever' is far and away one of the most difficult plays to perform that I have ever encountered.

How right he was can be seen through June 22 at relentlessly, so that the sheer energy of their shenanigans must finally bludgeon the audience into laughing at all those crazy people onstage. The actors have enthusiastically obeyed these marching orders, and have shamelessly thrown themselves to the slaughter. Barbara Rush, as Judith Bliss, is a beautiful and charming woman whose talents do not include those of a high comedian. She's game for anything here, winking, croaking, and twenty-three skidooing with all her might; but all she's getting from it is hoarseness. Still, she and Kenned Maclver, as her flirtatious daughter, at least maintain some dignity, which cannot be said for other members of the cast.

Joe Van Slyke. in the role of a diplomat, instead seems to playing a gelded imbecile; and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, as a shy wallflower, clumps about rather like a poor soul on weekend leave from a home for mental defectives. They do not exhibit a talent to amuse. Clara Anne Edwards Judith Bliss Rush Chetcle Roaa L. Hunt Phillip David Bliss Sandy Tyii Myra Arundel flichard Jackie van siyko Elizabeth Mastrsrttonio QUESTION, Marriott's Lincolnshire Theater, where an all-out assault on Coward's favorite comedy has turned his sophisticated lark into a rousingly feeble-minded farrago.

Written in three days 1924, when the author was 25, nd produced in 1925, "Hay Fever" concerns a mad weekend of misadventures at the country home of a recently retired great lady of the theater (loosely based on the actress Laurette Taylor). Posing, pretending, and carrying on as if all the world was indeed a stage, she and her family are egocentric but endearing characters, making merry among themselves and creating havoc among the four hapless guests they have invited up for a tisit. The play has a smattering of epigrams and one famous, funny scene involving an after-dinner parlor game, but its laughter depends not so much on the lines in the text as the way they are delivered. Played on target by a skilled ensemble, the comedy can be fall- tme Mow mm down funny. Otherwise, as many an amateur group has learned, it's an embarrassing mess.

THE MARRIOTT PRODUCTION has tried to circum-vent some of the problems of style by transporting the play from Cookham in England in 1925 to the Hamptons in America in 1928. The in-the-round staging also offers handsome costumes, bouncy period music, and one of designer Jeffrey Harris' elegant, spidery iron settings serving as a framework for the Bliss home. Director David H. Bell's method of dealing with the play, however, is to have his actors scream and mug lh big bucks all summer? 'Friday the 13th': More bad luck TRIBUNE MINI-REVIEW: Unlucky for the viewer No stars "FRIDAY THE J3TH" Produced and directed by Sean S. Cunningham, written by Victor Millar, photographed by Barry Abrame, edited by Bill Freda, music by Harry Mantradlni; a Paramount release at the Stato Lake and outlying theaters.

Rated Betsy Pslmer King Mrs. Voorhe Alice Bill Bronda Hsrry Crosby Bartram Nelson Jesnnine Taylor Robbf Morgan i. Art Lehman Marc la Jason By Gene Siskel Movie critic DT HAS BEEN suggested to me that a great way to keep people from seeing a truly awful movie is to tell them the ending. I like that idea a lot, and I know it is a powerful (and controversial) weapon. So you're going to have to trust me to use St wisely and sparingly.

In the meat-cleaver-in-the-forehead movie "Friday the 13th," which also features a bloody, slow-motion decapitation, the killer turns out to be a bitter old Jady played by Besty Got a Palmer. It seems that 23 years ago her son drowned at a summer camp while a couple of counselors were off Saving sex in a hayloft. Since the boy's drowning, there have been a rash jf unsolved murders at the camp, and after about 85 minutes of "Friday the 13th" we learn that, sure enough, it's Palmer's fault. She's got this thing for counselors at Camp Crystal Lake. And if you wait another 10 minutes, you can see one of the teen-age gal counselors cut Palmer's head off.

MOW. THERE I hoped I've ruined "Friday the 13th," which is the latest film by one of the most despicable creatures ever to infest the movie business, Sean S. Cunningham. You may have heard of one of his other films, "The Last House on the Left," a film in which a teen-age girl is forced at gunpoint to urinate on herself and then is shot in the bead. Cunningham's specialty is that old, sick standby, teen-age-girls-in-peril.

In scene after scene in "Friday the 13th," we see girl counselors strip down to their underclothes, only to be stalked by the unseen killer, who we now know is Palmer, looking very much like a lumberjack. One girl gets the meat cleaver slammed into her forehead, another's throat is slashed, and we see the fake blood spurt toward the camera. Cunningham takes it a little easier on the boys; one is merely stabbed in the stomach, another's throat is pierced from the back of his neck by a knife. In more than one scene, Cunningham rips off se We don't call it fantastic for nothina! The WLS Fantastic Plastic Card from Crush'111 could win vou a trio to mv mir J- 1 Wl' -a" quences from the hit shocker "Halloween, which was much less bloody, much less explicit about its attacks, and much better directed by John Carpenter. THE POINT is this: There Is nothing to "Friday the 13th" other than its sickening attack scenes; re move them and you're left with an empty movie.

"Friday the 13th" is being distributed by Paramount Pictures, and it is very surprising to see a major, publicly held film company handle1 a movie as bloody as this. Previously, Cunningham has had to work with small-time, independent releasing companies. Paramount is a division of Gulf Western Industries. If you want to complain about the film, you can write Charles G. Bluhdorn, the chairman of the board of Gulf Western, at 1 Gulf Western Plaza, New York, N.Y.

10023. (Betsy Palmer lives in the little town of Rowayton, Conn. I'm sure a letter sent to General Delivery there will get to her.) "Friday the 13th" has been given an rating by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). If any film should be X-rated on the basis of violence, this is it. But Paramount pays part of the salary of the MPAA people who determine the ratings, and this is clearly a case where a big studio gets a less-restrictive rating than is proper.

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