by Joyce Lambert
“Sun” Sydney, November 30, 1948
Vivien Leigh is giving a boost to Australian clothes. When she and Sir Laurence Olivier arrived in Tilbury after their Australian tour, she wore a hat bought from a famous Sydney milliner–a charming beige affair tied under the chin with a wide, soft scarf.
And the next day at the Old Vic’s party in their honor, she wore a black braid-trimmed face cloth suit which she confided was another Sydney purchase. “The clothes there are so smart,” she said. “The Sydney girls dress beautifully–and they really are lovely.”
Lovely was the word for Miss Leigh herself on this occasion; the suntan acquired on the homeward trip had given a healthy radiance to the piquant little face, which was topped by a cute, becoming black velvet bonnet.
Though her husband is still walking with a stick after the cartilage operation performed on his leg in New Zealand, he also looked magnificently well: everyone agrees the two of them have never looked better.
The Oliviers are genuinely enthusiastic about Australian, although they do say that the theatres in which they played were rather too large for them. They adored, though, the small theatres in which they appeared in Hoburt, and agree their favorite was Adelaide’s Theatre Royal.
Australian wine is fine, they say, and painting talent is very bright indeed: they love the look of the country.
“New Zealand could be Italy, but Australia is absolutely individual–like no other place on Earth,” says Vivien Leigh.
Both are absolutley determined that other Briish stars shall follow their trail to Australia; Sir Laurence suggests a company should go from the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-Uopn-Avon.
Vivien thinks Australian-born Bobby Helpmann should be the next visiting star–“Both as an actor and dancer, to show his wonderful versatility.”
“The company led by Doris Fitton does very good things,” said Sir Laurence.
Individual players Diana Perryman and Peter Finch were singled out for special mention.
Peter Finch and his wife Tamara Tchinarova, were landing at Waterloo Station just at the same time the Oliviers were talking about the Mercury traveling production of Le Malade Imaginaire.
The Oliviers’ personal plans were to go back to their country home in Buckinghamshire for a few days before starting rehearsals for Sophocles’ play Antigone, in which Vivien will appear as her husband’s daughter.
This will replace The Skin of Our Teeth in the repetition of their Australian repertoire which they will give for the Old Vic for a five month season beginning in January.
They insist they have no plans after their two months holiday, but it’s pretty certain that the Oliviers’ next major engagement will be another picture–probably a film version of either King Lear or Macbeth.