30 December 2006 | mgconlan-1
Neat little vest-pocket musical
Starring real-life mother and son Grace and Peter Lind Hayes as mother and son on screen, "Maid for a Day" is a neat little 20-minute musical short that falls back on some clichés (notably the one about the middle-aged entertainer desperate to see her son go to college and Make Something of Himself, while he wants to pursue the same sort of theatrical career she did) but also has some surprisingly lavish dance numbers (notably the spectacular tango performed by dance team Don Lee and Louise) and some nice little satirical barbs aimed at the ultra-rich residents of a beach community who don't want to have to mingle with their, ugh, servants at the beach. (Sounds an awful lot like some of the recent controversies between Hollywood stars and coastal activists over access to Malibu!) This is a charmer, though your plot synopsis gives away the big twist at the end and I wondered why Grace Hayes' big song early on is introduced by a blackface chorus but she herself is given only a very light makeup job (my guess is to make sure the audience still was able to recognize Grace Hayes, which they might not have had she done full blackface).