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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 17, No. 13. July 15, 1953

Spring 1600

Spring 1600

Emlyn Williams, the author of "Spring 1600." is a born writer, his characters and dialogue in all his plays are immediately convincing; and he has a Celtic command of atmosphere—altogether a competent hut not over-exciting dramatist. This play was first produced in London in 1945 and is almost an essay in the comedy of humours. It is light and crisp and was produced! and acted as such. There is little plot but the play is such that it needs only a few threads to hold the comedy together. It was a good choice for the club as its life and movement provided plenty of scope for comedy acting from the main characters. The main characters are clearly drawn and generally well cast, though in this play one had better not speak of "type-casting."

We encounter the names of famous persons and historical events on every side—Richard Burbnge and the Lord Chamberslain's men; Master Alleyn and the Admirals' Men; Toumeur, Nashe. Drake, Essex and a "fellow that writes plays"—Shakespeare. All of them, to a student, "familiar in his mouth as household words."

Honours for acting ability must go to Gavin Yates as Burbage. The original player of Shakespeare's "Hamlet," "Lear," "Othello" and "Richard III"), the chief tragedian of his age. The play really took on some life when Mr. Yates began in scene 2 to act the "greatest Englishman now living" as his wife says he is. Many of the other males in the cast could well take note of his stage movement and voice control. One of the best and more serious scenes in the piny in where Burbage lolls "Jack Beeston"—the country girl in disguise—of his plans for his new theatre, the Globe. You could almost hear his "flutter of immortality."

There was as usual, a high standaril of acting from the distaff side, with the best coming from Berna-dette Canty as Jack Beeston. Rosemary Lovegrove as Winifred. Burbage's wife, and Charmian Patterson in a fine piece of characterisation as Lady Copperario. Tills "Lady" in an Italian gentlewoman, born and bred in Islington, London, who would seem to be an old-fashioned version of a "gold-digger." The rest, while not having such large parts, were able to keep up the high standard.

The male cast were uneven in quality and it was lack of teamwork among some of them that made the play drag in spots. David Bridges showed skill and a good sense of comedy as Ned Pope, an old female impersonator. Others who entered well into the spirit of the play were Ian Rich, Perry Stevenson, Laury Sinclair and Bruce Ross. The latter had a tendency to emphasise the wrong words and to use the same inflections—a thing which he could control. John Marchant gave a sincere portrayal as Kit Cooper, the cousin who comes to lake the girl home. He moved and acted well in a difficult part which was fairly "straight" as contrasted to the comedy parts of the others. Hal Nash, Torrance Corbett and John Wiles did not come up to the standard of the others duo mainly to lack of experience and teamwork. There is a song sometimes heard on the radio from one of Noel Coward's musicals. 'The Ace of Clubs" called "Three Juvenile Delinquents." . . .

Mrs. Lloyd, he producer, brought out the comedy side of the play extremely well; the subtle humour was appreciated by the audience. She got the best out of her cast and the production seemed to be carefully planned. The setting was effective, well-designed and with the excellent costumes, lighting and make-up gave the production the right finishing touches.

Some of the comedy lines will stick in my memory . . .

"What's a dowager " "A woman of no taste."

"Mistress Ann Boylene was twenty-five when she wed and she married Henry VIII." "So did a number of other people."

[unclear: The] production reserved better audiences and especially more support from the students. It would be interesting to know how many students saw it.

Congratulations, Drama Club, for a well-done play.

Tony Courtney.