Friday, October 23, 2020


J.J. Lewis, Stephen Collins, Tony Tanner, Maureen O'Sullivan.

NO SEX, PLEASE, WE’RE BRITISH [Comedy/British/Marriage/Sex] A: Anthony Marriott and Alistair Foot; D: Christopher Hewett; S: Helen Pond and Herbert Senn; C: Jeffrey B. Moss; L: John Harvey; P: Tom Mallow b/a/w John Gale; T: Ritz Theatre; 2/20/73-3/4/73 (16)

John Clarkson, J.J. Lewis, Stephen Collins.

An import from London’s West End, where it was a hit, No Sex Please, We’re British—a title that has stuck around far longer than the play—came to Broadway with a very capable American cast and expert rapid-fire direction. Too bad it lacked the ero-dramatic stamina to avoid a premature ejection.

J.J. Lewis, Stephen Collins, Robert Judelin, Maureen O'Sullivan.

This implausible, door-slamming sex comedy deals with the Hunters (Stephen Collins and J.J. Lewis), an attractive, newly married young English couple who send away to a Swedish import company hoping to obtain glassware with which to set up a small business. Instead, they receive an incessant stream of pornographic materials, including a pair of stacked sex bombs named Susan and Barbara (Jill Tanner and Jennifer Richards).

Leon Shaw, Stephen Collins, J.J. Lewis.

The Hunters’ frantic attempts to conceal their collection from the other characters—business associates, the husband’s mother (former movie star Maureen O’Sullivan [Mia Farrow’s mother]), the cops, and so on—who show up constitutes the action of this mindless, disappointingly unfunny confection.

Tony Tanner, Maureen O'Sullivan.

When Richard Watts said he “thought it was dreadful,” he spoke for all his critical brethren.

In addition to its title, another reason I’ve always remembered this show is that one of the actresses playing the sexpots was Jennifer Richards, who had recently graduated from Brooklyn College, where I was then a young theatre professor. She’d made an impression, so to speak, as a student; her Playbill bio claimed she’d graduated “cum laude,” pun unintended (I think). So, her acting talent aside, it was interesting for BC students and faculty at the time to note how quickly she'd been cast in a Broadway show. 

Jennifer actually had a decent career playing voluptuous women in the Monroe-Mansfield mold. You can see what I’m talking about from this 1983 interview with Johnny Carson, whose other guest was Eddie Murphy. I’m kind of sorry now that I never gave her a Theatre Department Alumnus Award when I chaired the department. But, hey, BC, it’s never too late.  Remember, that "B" stands for Brooklyn, not British!