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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 10, No. 6. May 28, 1947


Freed from the holy writ of St. Karl and St. Sigmund, Extravaganza 1947 emerged as a light-hearted, entertaining frolic that broke the pattern of recent Extravs and reduced the propagandist shout to a whisper. If there was any deity inspiring the authors of Utopanella, it must have been the Great God Smut—and as that perceptive clown (frock once observed, "A dirty mind is a perpetual feast." The best of the Extravs that I can remember, The Plutocrats or Centennial Scandals, always had the edge taken off their buffoonery by a serious undertone of evangelism. Utopanella is all the more enjoyable for not having any discernible message. Instead, its authors have been content to pillory our local celebrities and our political disputes, and level at both of them a torrent of critical comment heavily veiled with witty vulgarity and some clever puns.

Extravaganza, VUC style, has a pungent flavour of its own. Besides being more competent, coherent and ambitious than the reviews staged by the other colleges, it maintains, in its better years, of which this is one, a strident protest at the inanities and stupidities of New Zealand's public life. While the music-hall depends on trick cyclists and anaemic crooners, the local Repertories on murder mysteries and Wimpole Street, and with literature non-existent, only the cartoonists of the daily press and the authors of Extrav. engage in the art of lampoon. Little wonder that the hero-compere of Utopanella should be a comic strip hero. The healthy purgative of laughter soothes our tempers and reduces our opponents, be they politicians, capitalists, or workers, to more human proportions.