Ace of Comedies Is Offered This Week At Weller

"Alias The Deacon" Gets Stamp Of Approval

Article written Tuesday, May 3, 1927 about the May 2, 1927 performance.

Evidently the best does not come first as the old saying goes, for the Wright Players have offered many amusing comedies at the Weller theater since last September, but not a one can agree favorably with "Alias the Deacon", which opened Monday Night for a week's run. The ace of comedies, as New York hailed the stage success, should give the Weller its biggest week.

The comedy in a prologue and three acts, by J. B. Hymer and LeRoy Clemens, would have been just an ordinary evening's entertainment had it not been for Forest Orr, the artistic and high classed comic, otherwise the dramatic director of the Wright troupe. Mr. Orr is hte "Deacon". So enough is said. That's why the comedy showed itself MOnday evening to be the rarest offered here, in the opinion of those who have kept close tab on the stock company.

The polite clowning of Mr. Orr ranks him as a regular "Deak" and his knack of putting an otherwise dull stage play into the ranks of rich entertainment predominated the evening's fun. The play has to do with that beloved crook, a regular card shark, who posed as a deacn. Woven around the activites of the deacon are fun, suspense, card games, a Ladies' Aid Society and a first class murderer.

Mr. Orr in the role of the Deacon top-masted the comedy and made the audience recline restuflly and suspiciously as the play moved from one thing to another. The "one-man" in the ripping little comedy is surrounded with an array of able talent.

"Brick" McGorty, a regular crook, who'd stop at nothing, is Eber Price, a local boy, otherwise called the "Wop" and a first class killer, is Edgar Barrie while John Roberts is the deputy sheriff and George Spelvin, the brakeman. To get down into the serious characters, we found Maurice Holland portraying the role of John Adams, while opposite the leading man was Alice Cavanaugh, as Phyllis Halliday. They were splendid in characterizing the parts of "two who wanted to do right."

Mrs. Clark, quite a fine looking hotel proprietress, who the Deacon considered not lightly, is Maren Berdine. She is in a loveable role, and the audience sees Miss Berdine as herself. Richard Haines is "Bull" Moran, the prize fighter, and his manager, "Slim" Sullivan, is Franklyn George. The two can be called the side show to the comedy. Halliam Bosworth as the sheriff, and Charles Bowler portraying the role of Jim Cunningham, a society crook, add a more mature note to the play. Mrs. Gregory and Luella, the petite daughter, are Marie Nelson and Gertrude King. The Deacon is fascinated over this pair, as they indulged in bridge just enough to interest the lovable crook, who'd make a two-spot an ace.

To little "Dick" Basehart, who took the part of Willie Clark, must go a bit of praise. The youthful actor carried hundreds of lines, but steadied himself admirably well. One would think he was part of the stock company, not just a Zanesville lad. His pert and sarcastic remarks under the guise of a boy's naturalness made Willie a good part in the show.

Deacon Orr does justice to the profession, it seems. At one time during the play he literally preaches a sermon, and at the next moment he's "cleaning" his friends at a friendly little game. The closing act is filled with fun and tears, the Deacon comng into his own in a very impressive mannejr. The usual difficulties encountered on the opening night by the stock company were entirely absent and the play progressed, superbly under the guiding light of Mr. Orr and the capable cast.

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