Many years ago Deborah Kerr made her film debut in Shaw’s MAJOR BARABARA, and proceeded to become one of Britain’s biggest screen stars. She eventually went to Hollywood for a co-starring role with Clark Gable and for a time her career reached a standstill until somebody had the bright idea of casting her as the adulterous wife in the film FROM HERE TO ETERNITY. On this occasion I found her unconvincing, but as a result of this film she received an Oscar nomination and bigger roles followed. She went on to star in THE KING AND I, TEA AND SYMPATHY, and many other important films, receiving along the way 6 Oscar nominations.
Through the years her loveliness and grace has never diminished and it is good news that she is back with us again on the West End stage. The vehicle she has chosen to star in, THE DAY AFTER THE FAIR is based on a short story by Robert Hardy, and is the kind of play designed particularly for women audiences.
The plot tells of a servant girl’s seduction by a young barrister and her collusion with the mistress of the house in writing letters to him. When the girl finds herself pregnant he is summoned to the house, and it is soon apparent that he has fallen in love with the writer of the letters. Unknown to him it is Miss Kerr who has been busily writing them, and in an unconvincing scene earlier on she tells the maid that it is her letters that have retained his interest. However the girl persuades her mistress not to divulge the truth to him and the play reaches its sad but convincing conclusion. Julia Foster as the maid once again gives an excellent account of herself, though I always feel she lacks charm, a point made even more obvious whilst watching Miss Kerr’s graceful presence.
It may be unchivalrous to say this, but I felt at times that Miss Kerr has lost some of her stage technique, resorting as she does to comic bits of ‘stage business’ and facial grimaces to get her point across to the audience But for all that it is a joy to welcome her back to the London Theatre, and 1 hope this will lead to other stage appearances in the future.