Presented by and at Mint Theater Company, 311 W. 43 St., NYC, April 14-May 23. Casting by Sharron Bower.
The Mint first resurrected this A.A. Milne rarity in 1997. Now it's back in a new production, alternating in repertory with Milne's also unaccountably obscure "The Truth About Blayds." In its day favorably compared to Shaw and Wilde, this gentle but delightful comedy gets a first-rate mounting.
More humorous and even more a crowd pleaser than the excellent "Blayds," "Pim" concerns the furor caused by the revelation that a country gentleman's wife's first husband—a convict, no less—long presumed dead, is still alive.
There's pleasure in watching the "Blayds" cast go through different paces here. Lisa Bostnar is luminous as the wife, perfectly capturing her assured serenity. Victoria Mack and James Knight (his part originally played by Leslie Howard) once again represent the spirited young people. They, like the others—Stephen Schnetzer as the stolid husband; Jack Davidson as the eponymous Carraway Pim, the charming, befuddled passerby who wreaks such havoc; and Kristin Griffith as imperious Lady Marden—play this material with confidence. The cast—some stumbling over lines notwithstanding—does well by the English accents (credit Amy Stoller, dialect coach).
Sarah Lambert's "Blayds" set—with some slight modifications—serves just fine. Theresa Squire's costumes and Mark T. Simpson's lighting complete the picturesque stage picture.
Artistic Director Jonathan Bank directs with an assured sense of style. He knows how to bring out the profundity of a piece that could easily be mistaken as merely lightweight. This is a solid, well-crafted play, and the Mint's production is about as good as you're going to see, until some starry British revival comes along.
The Mint has some Milne readings in store over the next couple of months to complement these two mainstage productions. If they're anywhere near as delectable as these, we're in for a treat.