“THE HASTY HEART John Patrick’s sentimental play, produced on Broadway in 1945, may be best remembered as one of Ronald Reagan’s better movies, but it’s revived often enough, usually by small theaters, to be considered more than a curio. In director Michael Rothhaar’s admirably restrained yet detailed staging, the three acts move swiftly. Robert Broadfoot’s sets effectively suggest a British army hospital in Burma during World War II, where Yank (Keith Stevenson), Digger (Nathan Mobley), Kiwi (Michael Balsley) and Tommy (Ron E. Dickinson) endure tropical heat and slow recoveries with equanimity until the arrival of Lachie (the excellent Scott Jackson), a laconic Scot who couldn’t be less friendly. Prompted by a superior officer and the saintly Sister Margaret (Lesley Fera), the motley invalids, each representing one of the Allies, have sworn kindness toward their new roommate. For Lachie is dying, though he alone doesn’t know it. Elsewhere, the competing accents could easily have become jumbled, but not here. Jackson’s Scottish brogue is pitch and letter perfect, Stevenson’s Southern stutter unforced. Nor do Patrick’s quicksilver banter and emotive pleadings fall flat in this exemplary production. Only hard hearts will be able to resist Lachie’s final capitulation or the playwright’s belief in the redemptive power of friendship.
PACIFIC RESIDENT THEATER, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Oct. 14. (310) 822-8392.