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New York Times; March 13, 1983 [partial]

'On Approval'- A Delicious Period Piece

[Maria Wislak] comes up with the very practical idea to "try out" for 30 days at her country home in Scotland, a man who has loved her from a distance for 20 years and now wants to marry her. Maria, a widow, was treated rather shabbily by her first husband and does not want to make another mistake. Fluffing her hair and powdering her nose, Maria presents her cohabitation plan - while commonplace now, scandalous then - with the assurance that "I love you and all that" but one can never be too sure. Her intended, overwhelmed by her wisdom, cries, "The courage of it!"

'Fluffing her hair and powdering her nose'
There are only four characters in the play. The first act opens at a formal dinner party in the home of Helen Hayle [Lindsay Duncan], who is 22, an orphan and one of the richest women in England. Her guests are Maria [Penelope Keith], Richard Halton [Benjamin Whitrow], the man in love with Maria, and George, Duke of Bristol [Jeremy Brett], loved by Helen but considered a brute by Maria because he is always making unflattering references to her age. Mr. Brett is a tot too long in the tooth for the part of the Duke, who is supposed to be a "hideous child," but he brings a flair and an assurance to the role that are eventually disarming.

"The courage of it!"

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Color photos ©2000 Linda Patterson.
Black and white photos from "On Approval," Mobil Masterpiece Theatre, Presented by WGBH Boston.