Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 15, No. 4. March 27, 1952
Top marks to Drama for The Rivals. Two years of serious dramatic art, Coriolanus and Lucrece, are enough. This time the choice of play even allowed for those philistines who did not bother to go and as a result missed a good evening's entertainment.
Sheridan can be played two ways: with a precise exquisiteness and with a cheerful gusto. Old Vic used the first method for "School for Scandal" and the Drama Club wisely chose the second. This gusto, obvious enjoyment and pace mude "The Rivals" good fun from start, to finish.
How easy it pick any play to pieces. Pauline Kermode arched an eyebrow overmuch and Mr Donovan's indecision and temerity was matched by his clothes and his wig which appeared likely to fall off any moment. Gavin Yate's profile is not quite absolute enough for the gallant figure he still managed to cut. This all suggests that the casting could have been more apt.
Lydia Languish (Anne Flannery) languished perhaps too much but the cast appeared to have been restricted in their own parts, to be wearing perhaps the character as thought out by their director, and Miss Flannery may have been under orders.
To pick out any stars would be a perilous undertaking. Squires Acres (Paul Treadwell) was the bucolic squire even from back view but the squire's heartiness is more natural than the Irish accent of that spurious gallant Sir Lucius O'Trigger which Gerard Monaghan maintained without fault. Who would chose between the Irate and doddery Sir Anthony Absolute and that pineapple of vigorous archness Mrs Malaprop? Minor characters Honest Thomas (Bill Sheat), Fag (Ian Free) and David (John Paterson) were characters not bit parts—not always a feature of Drama's productions.
A pity that the Concert Chamber was not packed each night but without reliable dramatic critics in our newspapers the public has no sound guide.