Salient.The Newspaper of Victoria University College. Vol. 19, No. 4. April 6, 1955
Salute to Youth . . . — Dawick Reviews "Escapade" — "Sheer Entertainment"
Salute to Youth . . .
Dawick Reviews "Escapade"
For sheer entertainment value this is one of the best things that the Players have done. Roger MacDougall's comedy, which has scored a considerable hit in the West End production, abounds with delightful characters, ingenious situation and sparkling epigram. There is a youthfulness of outlook in this play that makes it an ideal choice for a company possessing a comparable verve and vitality. This is not a great play—the element of farce becomes too dominant for good comedy at times, but in the content and the style there is a very marked resemblance to G.B.S. and Oscar Wilde, to whom the playwright is being increasingly compared.
As far as criticism of the production is concerned the best I can do is to suggest that you see it for yourself. I found nearly all the principals excellent. "Roy Patrick once again demonstrated his genius for completely identifying himself with the part he is playing," and as John Hampden, the militant Pacifist who obsessed with the desire to reform the world yet lacks the necessary human qualities to make a success of his family life, he creates another memorable role. Gay Dean, as the wife who revolts from the boorishness of her' husband. Helen Stirling as her Mother-in-law and Bernard Shine playing Andrew Dee-son, the likeable but business-like Scots newspaper reporter, were the most impressive of the other adult leads.
Geoffry Wren, as the tremendously likeable, scruffy Sixth Form Idealist, gave one of the roost heart-warming performances I have seen on the stage, while Lyn Brooke-White, a Wellington schoolboy, the youngest member of the Players, acted his part with the assurance of a veteran. Only Mr. Britton Chadwlck who was asked by his role to make the somewhat awkward transformation from a pedagogical Headmaster to an enlightened advocate of Inspired educational methods and seemed more concerned with displaying his admittedly beautiful voice, at times failed to convince.
The main set is an extremely tasteful modern interior, and is well up to the high standard that we have come to expect from the Player's brilliant young designer. Raymond Boyce. It has a solidity and beauty far removed from the poster paint and cardboard affairs that we usually are given in plays with an equivalent setting. All in all a worthy opening to a season in which we are going to be given Edith Campion playing the title role in Shaw's "St. Joan." probably the most exciting venture in the history of the N.Z. stage.