OFF BROADWAY REVIEW
The prolific and popular Hungarian dramatist Ferenc Molnar, who composed more than 40 plays during his 1910s-30s prime, is best remembered these days – if at all, by most theatergoers -- for “The Play’s the Thing,” “The Swan” and “Liliom,” which later was musicalized as “Carousel.”
The ever-venturesome Mint Theater Company currently offers a rare and handsome staging of Molnar’s “Fashions for Men,” which hit Broadway back in 1922 and likely hasn’t been seen in these parts since.
A slightly cynical comedy mostly set in a smart clothing shop for men and women in Budapest, the story centers on Peter (Joe Delafield), an extremely nice guy who owns the establishment. Peter is so darned kindly that he readily forgives his wife Adele (Annie Purcell) and his best salesman Oscar (Joe Tufts) when they declare themselves in love and leave town with his savings.
Now bankrupt, Peter goes to work as an estate manager for his former customer, the Count (Kurt Rhoads), but Peter’s helplessly saintly ways undermine the nobleman’s cheese-making enterprise. Peter’s well-meaning principles also interfere with the middle-aged Count’s seduction of the gold-digging Paula (Rachel Napoleon), which sorely exasperates both parties.