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Salient. The Newspaper of Victoria University College. Vol. 19, No. 6. May 31, 1955

Thespians' "Confidential Clerk" was adequate, not inspired

Thespians' "Confidential Clerk" was adequate, not inspired

Mr. Eliot's latest was Riven a competent rendering by the Thespians in their recent production. The play seems to be most notable for the playwright's achievement in perfecting a form of verse that incorporates contemporary speech rhythms so" well as to be almost indistinguishable from good conversation.

Perhaps the verse gave an imperceptable tightening of atmosphere but nowhere did the play provide a sufficient emotional crisis for great poetry. While we are informed that Mr. Eliot once again lifted his plot from Euripides no one seems to worry very much about this alleged Greek hangover, and the attentions of the characters are largely directed to sorting out a number of complicated family relationships. The main theme appears to be the overwhelming problem of people in a modern and non-Christian society to individually find themselves an integrated sense of values to replace the rejected Medieval tradition. You could in fact say that this was another Eliot play of vocation.

The acting was adequate though hardly inspired. Kenneth Akerman as Colby Simkins, the new confidential clerk of Sir Claude Muihammer, gave a fine portrayal of that naive, perplexed but forthright young man; Ben Hawthorne, though a little young for his role of Eggerson, the former confidential clerk and friend of the family, positively oozed kindness and incidentally handled the verse better than anyone else; while of the woman parts, Marie Jones was ideal as Lucasta Angle, a disconcerting young woman [unclear: wh] built up a veneer of sophistication as a defence against the fact that she is Sir Claude's illegitimate daughter: and Evelyn Smith delightfully doddered as Lady Elizabeth Muihammer, a dear old lady given to absentmindedness and psychical research.

—John Dawick.