Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 17, No. 7. April 29, 1953
Sir, Peter Dronke's on the whole efficient appreciation of the Stratford Company presentations has prompted me to raise one or two points. Firstly. Leo McKern's Iago. I felt Mr. Dronke's praise was perhaps a little lavish, this Iago was. I think, a little too much of a comic character, he could have given the appearance of being a bluff and genial soldier without entering into the affection of the audience The audience on the night I attended roared with laughter when Iago, after cutting down Cassio from behind, runs in and murders Roderigo and hearing the crowd approaching decides not to murder Cassio but to help him. This scene, the first in Act V. immediately precedes the death of Desdemona and the audience, if understanding the tragedy, should by now have a fear and dread of Iago, it should not. I think, be getting a laugh at him.
"As You Like It" appeared to my unpractised eye to be flawless and I would thoroughly endorse Mr. Dronke's appreciation. Speaking of "Henry IV" I am in untrodden ground but a point which came out in the acting seemed to me to be that the impersonation of the king scene with Hal and Falstaff is not up to the standard of the others. On the opening night there was hardly a laugh raised in this scene and the raucous mirth of Peto, Bardolph and Co. onlookers clashed nastily with the silence in the audience. I have not yet decided whether this was through a lack of subtlety in the presentation or whether through the fault of the text.