The Spike: or, Victoria College Review, October 1908
The usual public entertainment was given on the evening of Capping Day in the Concert-Chamber of the Town Hall, and was as 'interesting as could be expected when all is considered. The Carnival of 1907 was remarkable for two reasons, firstly, because preparation for it was left later than ever before, and secondly because it was easily the best entertainment ever given by the College. Such an unusual combination of events page 36 was very satisfactory at the time, but the evil results are now becoming apparent. This year's chorus practices were begun in fair time, but the performers in the musical comedy were not in possession of their parts until within about ten days of the performance. Much thus was lost in indecisive treating with former authors, who had definitely announced their intention. to do nothing, but were nevertheless persecuted by the committee with a persistence worthy of a better cause, and had not the Hogben brothers stepped into the breach the matter might still have been under consideration. In fact, the present system is quite unfair to performers, authors, and public alike, and it is high time for the Students' Committee to seriously consider the whole question. If the Annual General Meeting is not held early enough to enable the new committee to deal satisfactorily with the problem, it should be attended to by the out-going Executive.
Lankshear was once more in his element with the conductor's batón, and his efforts were ably seconded by Miss Clachan, who presided at the piano. Mr. A. W. Newton very kindly devoted two evenings to coaching the principals in stagecraft, but the absence of Miss Smith or someone to take general control of proceedings as she did last year, was a distinct drawback to the success of what few rehearsals were held.
Part I of the programme was of the usual varied nature, comprising items ranging from the vocal villainies of a nigger troupe to the artistic efforts of soloists whose names would adorn any concert programme. The general choruses were not ren lered with anything approaching the full-voiced enthusiasm one expects from such a body of students. The Glee Club tunefully revived the ancient query anent one Sylvia, and certain of its members relieved their pent souls by delivering two part songs with pleasing effect. Miss Strack and Miss Newman were in excellent voice and met with a hearty reception. Mr. A. W. Newton was exceedingly amusing with several well-told anecdotes. The Niggers gave a bright and breezy turn, and made quite one of the hits of the evening. The Maori haka was not as successful as has been the case in former years. The Esprida Corps, a trio of well-known performers who wasted time between items, were believed to have something good on their programme, but if so it had not appeared by the time they were ejected by the irate secretary.
Part II was occupied by the presentment of "South Sea Bubbles," a comic opera in three acts, in which recent happenings in connection with the Arbitration Act were cleverly burlesqued. Several incidents of local significance also received page 37 the attention of the authors, G. M. and J. McL. Hogben who are to be heartily congratulated on the success of their incursion into the realms of the playwright.
The plot of the piece rests on the wanderings of Professor Watt-Buncombe through New Zealand in his search for a perfect social system. This he ultimately finds in the Socialism of Dr. Phin Leigh, a local politician. In the first act his doings are watched with interest by a baud of Auckland Press reporters. The second act finds him in "Daihape" on the Main Trunk line where he meets Adam, a labourer, who has been working there for thirty years, and Dr. Phin Leigh. He accompanies the latter to Wellington, which is the scene of the third act, and assists him to quell a strike of the local professors. Needless to relate the Professors return to work, Professor Watt-Buncombe finds his ideal system and everybody "lives happily ever after."
As Mrs. Watt-Buncombe, Miss D. Isaacs had little to do and did it well; whilst D. N. Isaacs made the hit of the evening as Adam. The heavier parts of Professor Watt-Buncombe and Dr. Phin Leigh were taken by A. H. Bogle and G. R. Hutchison respectively, and in view of their limited opportunities for rehearsal they did well enough.