Heidi Armbruster (top) and Angela Pierce in “Love Goes to Press.” | RICHARD TERMINE
Once again, the Mint Theater Company has plucked a play from obscurity, given it a top-notch production, and come up with a completely entertaining evening that shouldn’t be missed.
“Love Goes to Press,” by Martha Gellhorn and Virginia Cowles, real-life foreign correspondents, is a breezy comedy about Jane and Annabelle, two war reporters hunkering down with a group of less ambitious men in a press camp in Italy during World War II. True to the traditions of ‘40s comedy, the independent and inventive women are consistently outsmarting the men. At the same time, the romantic sparks fly, and it’s anyone’s guess if the gals will get the scoop or get scooped up into matrimony.
Though many of the characters are recognizable types, Gellhorn and Cowles write snappy dialogue and have a light touch with a comedy of the sexes. They smartly –– and given that it was written in 1946, presciently –– satirize the media’s fascination with celebrities when a visiting actress is inadvertently hailed as a hero for hiding in a basement while Jane and Annabelle are breaking real news. It’s refreshing to see a play so unabashedly funny and well crafted.
Director Jerry Ruiz has done an outstanding job of bringing the story and its characters to life. Angela Pierce and Heidi Armbruster as Jane and Annabelle, respectively, are a terrific team. They have the fast-paced banter of the period down, but aren’t above sounding a sharp report or falling into an uncharacteristic swoon. Margot White as actress Daphne Rutherford, with her theatrics and fur, is a great foil for them. The men in the cast are all outstanding, especially Bradford Cover, as the PR officer who becomes smitten with Jane, and Rob Breckenridge, as Anabelle’s ex, who, as luck would have it, winds up in the same camp.
Of course, since the play is a product of the immediate postwar period, the girls ultimately face the question of whether they can keep on barnstorming into wars or must trade it all in for hearth and home. The play doesn’t come down definitively, but instead spins off into a final burst of hilarity that will send you out into the night very entertained indeed.
LOVE GOES TO PRESS | The Mint Theatre | 323 W. 43rd St. | Through Jul. 29 | Tue.-Thu. at 7 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. at 2 p.m. | $55 at minttheater.org or 866-811-4111