SMAD. An Organ of Student Opinion. 1936. Volume 7. Number 8.
We were determined to enjoy this show so, for fear of comparisons, we stayed from the Gilbert and Sullivans. But we need not have done so, for there was no resemblance between them. G. & S. are frivously amusing-satire. The general aim of extravaganzas is ridicule, but few have succeeded in picking their meat to the bone as this one does.
Bernard Shaw is supposed to have remarked when he read "Journey's End" that it contained enough material for half-a-dozen plays. We could say of "Hell's Bells" that it held enough material for half-adozen extravs. Every line and every word were significant, there were thrusts, quips, and skits in every speech, while the songs had a sting that would have provoked a professorial banning three years ago.
Herr Scotney, Fascist.
For years we have wondered why Bond Scotney would persist in his bludgeoning perorations from the Gymn stage during debates. Now we know, it has been merely a course of training, extended over years to play the role of Bunko Mustalinitlerassini.
Apart from his appearance, all Bonk's melodramatic gestures and stentorian intonations enabled him to give us a marvellous personification of Hitler cum Mussolini. His performance was made all the more serious by the anties of the automata on the Nozi Council, the ludicrous methods of putting on the swas-tika-clock and the background of the Fasces Barrels.
A Precocious Babe.
In contrast to Bonk's gravity was the clowining of G. Davies, who played the part of Cuthbert. No doubt his size and costume belied his age, but we were given the impression of a precocious child being a polished actor. His dumb shows, especially in the minuet, brought many a chuckle from the audience.
For his delightful singing and good stage presence, goes to Martin Liddle much of the credit of giving the production the polish that made it comparable to professional performance.
The six members of the Nozi council played their parts as five good men and and true: and the sixth), was none the less good. The ballets by the Mister Cuthber's and the Tea-ypistes though, naturally, they lacked professional finish, nevertheless set a standard (together with those in "Brave New Zealand") that has not been reached many years in Varsity performances.
Last, but not least, credit for the great success of this show must also go to its producer, Jack Aimers. The essential military precision with which the whole performance was enacted shows how well he had done his work.