ON TOUR by Mel Arrighi


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Backstage soap opera--as singleminded old troupers Adrian Glynn and Jessica Langham (closely, rather cattily modeled on the Lunts) lead a company of Much Ado About Nothing through L.A. and San Francisco in 1968. Arrighi's less-than-engaging hero is featured supporting actor Morgan Lewis, a recovered alcoholic and former ""graylisted"" movie star who's now nobly dedicated to the theater--he even turns clown a TV series offered by a slimy Hollywood agent. But Morgan has his troubles: he's having an on-tour affair with married Susan, who's in a stew about whether to abandon her husband and kids for her recently revived career; he unsuccessfully tries to have the performance canceled the night after Bobby Kennedy's assassination (an unconvincingly motivated bit of pseudo-idealism that will have most readers siding with the show-must-go-on contingent); and he's worried about his arrogant radical-student son at Berkeley, so worried that he falls off the wagon in San Francisco and is fired for drunkenness by imperious Adrian Glynn. Along the way, however, he takes time out to befriend young actor Dan, who's caught between his surly, theater-hating girlfriend (who joins him in San Francisco for an abortion) and sexy actress Hilary, a Jewish Californian hiding behind a phony English name and accent. And finally Morgan does get back into the company--after the frosty Glynns are themselves exposed to emotional trauma: the murder of an old acting chum who has gotten too deeply involved with San Francisco's kinky underground homosexual scene. With realistic but flavorless backstage atmosphere, erratic dialogue (Morgan's son cries: ""And what are you? A fucking mummer!""), and clich‚d show-biz characterizations, this is mostly inoffensive (unlike the foul Delphine, 1978) but glossily mechanical and uninvolving--further evidence that Arrighi's hackwork only seems to click into place when he's writing straight suspense (Navona 1000, Turkish White).

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 1979
Publisher: Atheneum