Star-Spangled Girl

“The Star-Spangled Girl” is such a slight, innocuous little comedy that I wouldn’t be surprised if Neil Simon has forgotten he wrote it.

(Actually, I know he remembers it, because he was quoted in 1977 as saying, “‘Star-Spangled Girl’ is clearly and simply a failure, as far as I’m concerned.”)

The 1967 play, now at the Little London Dinner Theater, is not without its charms, and in fact has quite a few funny moments. It tells the story of Andrew (Elijah Cardon) and Norman (Shayne Hudson), two “radicals” who publish their own liberal magazine in San Francisco.

They are radicals in the sense that the play tells us they’re radicals. They look and dress like BYU students, and their gripes with America are not particularly spelled out.

Anyway, they live and work in a dumpy apartment, where their new neighbor is a Southern girl named Sophie (Eliza Wren Payne), an all-American bubble-pot with whom Norman immediately becomes smitten. His smittenness soon takes on the form of sweet-natured stalking, as she has no interest in him — and in fact, she finds herself falling for Andrew instead, despite their idealogical differences.

Shayne Hudson is eminently enjoyable as Norman, a flamboyant, enunciative, highly physical character who, when asked where he’s been all day, answers, “In love.” (Later, when Sophie threatens to have him arrested for bothering her, he says, “I’ll have YOU arrested for having creamy, smooth skin.”) Hudson takes a character who could easily be a creepy stalker and makes him sweet and funny.

Eliza Wren Payne’s Sophie is also well-done, a commanding presence in any scene she’s in. Only Elijah Cardon is flat as Andrew, speaking his lines accurately, but without much sense of comedy or timing.

The show is worth seeing, a harmless little trifle with some good laughs sprinkled throughout it.

It's not that "Star-Spangled Girl" is a badly written play; it's just not a very GOOD play. It's so thoroughly forgettable and negligible, I don't know why you'd want to produce it.

I managed to lock my keys in my car before watching this play, which is something I never do. Luckily, I was informed that if you call the Pleasant Grove Police Department, they will cheerfully come out and get your keys out for you. I called them, and within one minute, an officer was on the scene. Another minute later, we were on our way. I'm glad there's no crime in Pleasant Grove, because otherwise I would have been stuck there.