Short Takes: Theater: Waiting In The Wings By Noel Coward

By Noel Coward

This autumnal comedy wasn't treated kindly by critics in 1960 when it opened in London, and it hasn't fared much better in its belated Broadway debut. A pity, since it is a delightful rediscovery. We're in a retirement home for stage actresses, where teacups rattle with the arrival of Lotta Bainbridge (Lauren Bacall), who's had a 30-year feud with resident diva May Davenport (Rosemary Harris). People chatter and reminisce, quarrel and reconcile, and die. Coward's wit has a melancholy glow here, and he has crafted one of the most sensitive, least patronizing portraits of old age ever.

--By Richard Zoglin

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