Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 9, No. 5. May 7, 1946
Juno and the Paycock
Juno and the Paycock
In spite of its tendency to stress social content rattier than dramatic values, Unity Theatre has to its credit a succession of topical and experimental plays and "Juno and the Pay-cock" was a tribute to Its energy and enthusiasm.
O'Casey, like Shakespeare, has a practical working knowledge of the stage and so gives his actors the aid of a well constructed play. His climaxes are well balanced, the atmosphere obvious enough to be "put over" by a New Zealand cast and still retain its Irish tang, and yet there is a subtlety which Unity in their fervour failed to achieve. The main fault of the production was that the interpretation of Irish life was a caricature rather than a true portrait, but it may be true that this is a fault inherent in the play and brought to light by production.
Roughly the story is of an Irish family, the Boyles, caught up in the turmoil of the post-war civil strife in Ireland. Interwoven is the bathos of their inheritance and loss of a small fortune, and the love tragedy of their daughter.
Toby Easterbrook-Smith gave a spirited performance as the Paycock and paterfamilias, Juno (Nola Millar), had the strength of character which the part demanded, but was a little too passive, and her voice tended to be monotonous. She should have been the centre of the play, but was over-shadowed by the more flamboyant characters, especially the Paycock, who played to the gallery a little with charm and humour,
Joxer gave the outstanding performance, and Don McLymont gave "It's a darling word" a memorable interpretation.
Of the supporting cast, Mrs. Tanered was memorable in her small part, and the hush as she shuffled off was more tribute than any amount of applause. Aithna Cato took the part, and her make-up, unlike that of the rest of the cast, was suitable to the lights. Edith Campion was her usual charming and restrained self, and her scenes with her husband were notable for their impression of teamwork, though Dick's mannerisms are a little distracting. Mollie Beveridge as Mrs. Madigan was another pleasing caricature, and Alan Bagley as the son, though slow in his cues, gave a consistent performance.
The production was excellent, making the most of the colour and drama of the play, and the impression that the set was an upstairs room was vivid. The lighting assisted the interpretation though it was a pity that every change of lights should be accompanied by violent flickering. The make-up was too heavy and the walls shook obviously, but these were minor things which did not effect the enjoyment of the play, and if College had as high a standard and as large an audience the Dana Club could be well satisfied.