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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 25, No. 3. 1962.


For the half-dozen students interested in such things, the visit of the "Old Vic" Theatre Company was of very great significance. For most of us it was the first opportunity to see a world-class theatre company. This was, therefore, not only a valuable experience in itself, but also an introduction to world theatre standards, and some sort of guide to the standard of local productions.

The most obvious general criticism is that these were productions more appropriate to the 'thirties than to the 'sixties. There was no hint, here, of John Osborne or Harold Pinter, of Peter Hall or Franco Zeffirelli, of Sean Kenny, of Vanessa Redgrave or Ian Bannen. These were definitely productions of the dramatic Establishment. This, of course, is not surprising since it is what we associate with the "Old Vic"; neither is it completely inappropriate in this country, perhaps, since New Zealand often finds itself some thirty years behind the times.

The second criticism is, perhaps, a corollary of the first. This is the exploitation of the "star" system and the consequent peculiar choice of plays. The Lady of the Camellias in particular, can be justified on no other grounds, and it seems strange that an English touring company should present two French plays to their Antipodean cousins.