Thursday, October 19, 2023


The fabulous Mint Theater Company is presenting Partnership, the third in their "Meet Miss [Elizabeth] Baker" series. The first, The Price of Thomas Scott (review here), from 1913, movingly explores the clash between profit and principle. The second, Chains (review here), from 1910, vividly depicts how having a job can choke the joy out of life; it is sadly still timely. Both of these, while a little flabby, were effective, sometimes excellent, pieces of theatre, well-presented by the Mint. Unfortunately, the third play, Partnership, from 1917, falls short of the first two in both writing and presentation. 

Kate has a small dress shop. Now that Lady Smith-Carr-Smith is a customer--and plans to recommend the shop to a duchess--success seems guaranteed. Kate would like to acquire the shop next door to combine with her own. However,  rumor has it that George Pillatt, described as "a pig" and "cold as a tadpole," has taken the shop. To Kate's surprise, Pillatt suggests that they become partners in business, and in life. Kate says yes.

It's not clear why Kate would say yes. She knows that she is an "eligible" young woman. She doesn't need someone to support her. And she never even suggests to Pillatt that they be business partners only. 

Yes, women in the early 20th-century frequently made non-romantic marriages. I just don't see why Kate would. And, as you could probably predict, Kate promptly falls in love with someone else. Nothing that happens afterward is remotely surprising or particularly compelling. The play might come across better with a more lively production, but it is a surprisingly lackluster night at the Mint.

Wendy Caster

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