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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 21, No. 6. May 28, 1958

Prof. Page on Extrav

Prof. Page on Extrav

I last went to a University extravaganza over thirty years ago, and then as pianist in the Extrav orchestra; the rush of musicals of the late 1920's, by Jerome Kern and Gershwin had not set in, and I recall our "extravs" being so feeble, so laboured and the thin voice of a woman student singing "Avalon" that I've never had the patience to attend another. Most likely we played "Poet and Peasant" or "Morning, Noon and Night" in the orchestra.

Why has no one told me about Victoria's Extravaganzas? Have they all been as good in my thirteen years in Wellington as the Paye Off? For one of the pleasantest entertainment I've had in years I take my hat off to Messrs. Curtin and Sheat: their show was for me better than any of the Unity end-of-the-theatre shows that I've happened to see. I liked Mr. Curtin's casual libretto, with time taken off to put in any bit of business that came into the author's head; I like the idea of topical words set to tunes like the Camptown Races. The ideas in the Paye Off were so simple that I suspect the authors of having a cleverer technique than one would suppose: it can't be easy to keep an audience simmering along happily for close on three hours as this show did. Scenery was fair, the tram-car episode, usually enchanting, and although the Reserve Bank scene was worth it Id welcome more of the quick sum up stuff like the pub door and pie cart sequence. The producer, I should imagine has tried to put some style and polish into the show. Very good as long as he can keep the freshness, for example, of the tram-car scene. And he may now have to step up the orchestra: this one sounded like a theatre-ette orchestra of my day; it would have played well "Nights of Gladness" waltz. What is needed now, for example in the excellent open scene, is something like the Modern Jazz Quartet. But how this is to be found, piano, vibes, drums, possibly clarinet, in Wellington I do not know and it ill becomes the Music Department to criticise. We are no help.

The introduction of a group of Indonesian musicians with dancer was excellent. Everyone was delighted with them. Messrs. Fenners and Griffiths, for all I know, are old Extrav. hands; they look alarmingly like characters from drawings by Lodge—nature imitating art again. Mr. Watts as Eccles showed a natural talent as a comic; Mr. Levy as Walter was endearing. That poor Phogbound was off in his rocket for so long. The radio announcer brought off a remarkable bit of verbosity; the remaining goons were good, the male ballet funny. For me the evening went by all too quickly.