Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 3, No. 4. 1940
The Centennial Extravaganza
The Centennial Extravaganza
To produce an extravaganza in the short tine of two weeks is no mean feat; and for it to be played to a nighty appreciative audience on the first night without any major hitch reflects great credit on the producers, Ralph Hogg and John Carrad, and the stage manager, Denis Feeney. Ralph, in particular, is to be congratulated on licking together "Centennial Scandals". He surmounted the hurdle of tine in a manner that illustrates his great abulity as a producer.
So They Began
It is unfortunate that most Varsity choruses start off weakly, (due probably to lack of practice), and "Let us Have a Conference" was no exception. However, once into their stride, there was no lack of vigour. Of the music, original by J. McLaughlin, I liked "Centennial Blues" best, and also the appearance and disappearance of Professor Freud, plus footlights, into the orchestra on the second night.
Then to John Carrad's show. John has a reputation for original words and music. "What a lady Josephine must have been." He did not disappoint us in "You Can't Pick a Winner". "Ragtime Lay" and "Eldorado" I rank as amongst John's best productions, and "Drifting down Caroline Bay" was not far behind. Captain Cook (Paul Taylor) and Miss Centenary (Paul Powell) stood out amongst the principals. The first, for his singing (one of the best that V.U.C. has produced), and the second as being particularly seductive and enticing. The 1940 High Steppers, recalled, each night, were classic. I noted the willowy wisp first on the right, and a cone hither smile fifth from the right. The Jitterbugs were most effective when Jitterbugging. Unfortunately their act was spolit by bad spotting on the first night.
"Unto Meek a child was born", This is Ron's best show to date, not only from the point of view of maintenance of interest but also for general punch. Although the Past Present and Future were loosely linked, Dr. Weevilbole being the only connection, this was covered up by Swingy Tawiwi (Barry Ervine) with his dramatic and entertaining broadcasts.
The stage setting in Act 1 Scene 1, "Somewhere in Ao Toheroa", was most colourful, as was the costuming; which by the way was, throughout the whole of "The Scandals" of a high standard, and Wardrobe Mistresses should receive no little raise. Dr. John Weevilbole (N. Beatus) Whui (Dennis Hartley) and Whui Tu (Diana Shaw) are deserving of commendation and especially the (I nearly said missing) link Weevilbole. As for Captain Rook (D.M. Saker), a young lady asked me after the show who the chap was with the flashing eyes and shining teeth.
The Interlewd "Somewhere in London" with the Capitalists song reminded me of a book called "Studies in a dying culture)"
Boloney Beach was notable for Three-in-One Cakefield (R.P. Kellaway), the Maori Chorus "Tena Koo, Ao Toheroa", and the Moas. The latter commonly, called the Moas out of Mike Mitchell (Properties) were little Masterpieces. I thought, however that they were a little too staid throughout the whole proceedings.
A pointed Interlewd with a Bishop in which the Maoris were denuded of their titles to land was subtle and effective.page break
In the Maitangi scene, the Maoris signed under false protoncos before Robsem (P. Graham). Then to Lord Bloodyslow, accent correct, attire and accoutrements similar, and did the audience like him! Maitangi closed with-a-rousing chorus - "Roll out the barrel!" The wahire s and warriors gave verve to the scenes.
Cinderella's kitchen had an uncertain response from the crowd. They laughed at the entrances of the Fairy Godfather (G. Higgin). They could not fathom the rest, except for the antics of the cat (J. V. Scott) which added a little humour that toned the general seriousness of this act. The Ugly Sisters (R. L. Meek and J. McCreary) were really aggressive creatures. Cinderella (Margaret Freeman) gave the right atmosphere of uncertainty as to whether she should go to the Ball or not. But she had no option for an apt Moloch (J. E. Norman), supported by the required pressure of the Fairy Godfather, demanded that she should dismiss the Communists and go to the Ball, the latter significantly saying "Our time will come!"
The leap into the future envisages a land void of masculinity except for Weevilbole, the Scarecrow (R. L. Meek) and the Tin Man (J. McCreary). A background of futuristic buildings represents the City of the Wizard that Voz. The Apple chorus was bright and snappy. Full of Vim. An entrance by the Scarecrow and Tin Man, the former withott a brain, the latter without a heart A short ballot with most appropriate actions. I liked the swing of the trio "Said the Scarecrow", To get in to the City that Woz was the aim of the pioneer and Maori women. The oracle, however, turns out to be Dr. Weevilbole who has lost the key to the City.
Music throughout was under the capable direction of Miss Joan Wollerman and Messrs. J. McLaughlin and B. P. Pierard.
A partie ularly good finale to the Internationale ends a daring (?) but successful production that places on record at least one function during the Centennial year that is not marred by traditional Blah. So be it.