In the movie “The Philadelphia Story,” Jimmy Stewart, en route to an Oscar, remarked how much he enjoyed watching “the privileged class enjoying its privileges.”
“Class” isn’t something we on this side of the Atlantic are much concerned with, but playwright A.R. Gurney seems to be. He alluded to it quite liberally in “The Dining Room” and seems obsessed with it in “The Cocktail Hour,” the latest production at the Newport Theater Arts Center.
Gurney sets his leisurely moving comedy in a WASPs’ nest of overrated underachievers somewhere in upstate New York during the mid-1970s. The patriarch is a walking stereotype of patrician self-importance who’s upset to the point of fury upon learning his playwright son has based his new script on his own family experiences.