(Wilborn Hampton’s article ran in the New York Times, 10/4.)
Of all the old war horses of the American theater, few have been more durable than “The Drunkard,” W. H. Smith’s cautionary tale on the evils of John Barleycorn. The original 1844 staging in Boston was for a temperance crusade and was deadly serious; a 1933 production in Los Angeles was played strictly for laughs and ran more than 20 years. An engaging revival by the Metropolitan Playhouse falls somewhere in between and makes a good case for the piece’s being more than a quaint theatrical curio.
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