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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 14, No. 5. May 24, 1951

Hangover? — After-effects of G & S

page 5


After-effects of G & S

Today, with the departure of Opera. Co. to the Sunny South, but a possibility remaining of a return visit, I feel like a loot soul, recovering from a hangover and hoping that the next party will be better. A true Vanity student, I believe that it is impossible not to enjoy a good party; in the same way, I believe that it is impossible not to enjoy Gilbert and Sullivan, and my visits to the Opera House were not exceptions. J. C. Williamson and Co. Ltd. have certainly followed the old tradition of parties by having several good drinks and several bad ones.

"Oh, to be in England, now the Festival's there!" Even if I died of a surfeit of Oliviers, Moira Shearers and Kirstin Flagstad, my soul would be happy.

As regards the actors and singers: I thought that Mr. Ivan Menzies, with his senile cavortings, much resembled marmite—a little bit went a long way. The liberties that he took as Koko in the "Mikado" would, I believe, have disgraced a third-rate actor at his drunkest. At times, he was clever; at times, he was boring; but, and this is to his credit, at all times he was clear. In the "Gondoliers," he took the minor role of the Duke of Plaza Toro. Not to be outdone by the main players, he brought a Red Skelton air to his part, which, if played seriously as it should be, can be marvellous. It wasn't.

The next performer in the limelight is that brilliant singer of the Gay '90's, Miss Evelyn Gardiner. Now, in 1951, her voice has lost little of its penetration. She was an ideal foil for Mr. Menzies. As a contrast to his gambolling and clarity, she acted like a rock and made her lines obscure: "Learn a trade, Miss G!"

Miss Helen Roberts was sweet, even if studied from the orchestra pit.

Richard Walker (bass), I liked—his acting before his singing. Leslie Rand (baritone), I thought acted quite well. His voice was powerful, but his enunciation, poor. John Fullard (tenor), possessed clarity, but no range.

My Oscar for the best performer goes to the too-little-seen Max Oldaker. He looked about the correct age for his parts, his singing was pleasant, and his acting, good. The best support, in my opinion, was Miss Marjorie Eyre. She was attractive (especially from the "Gods"), vivacious and also pleasantly-voiced.

Although the choruses (or chori) sang well, their actions however were often out-of-time and their eyes seemed to wander with their minds.

The orchestra was good. During the overtures, it almost, in the loud pieces, drowned the chatter of the audience.—J.H.