The Theater: New Plays on Broadway, Dec. 14, 1959


Five Finger Exercise (by Peter Shaffer) starts off with the look of one more mousy English country-house play, with the sound of one more reminiscent and easily resolvable tune. But it becomes increasingly cat-and-mousy, with a tune that introduces subtle dissonances, ominous themes, crashing chords. The Harrington family is slightly non-U and wholly nonunified. Father (Roland Culver) is a self-made furniture manufacturer, all the more defensively crass and philistine because of his contemptuously snobbish, culture-climbing wife (Jessica Tandy) and his contemptuous, muddled mamma's lap dog of a son (Brian Bedford).

Into their divided, miscomprehending midst, as tutor to a still cheery teen-age...

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