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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 25, No. 4. 1962.

At the Theatre

At the Theatre

Mounting a play is a serious undertaking, requiring a large expenditure of time, money, and energy. Surely the first consideration of a group preparing for such an effort must be whether the results will justify such expenditure. How is it, then, that the Wellington Repertory Theatre can insult its members and audiences with a piece as childish as Book Of The Month by Basil Thomas? How is it possible to find actors and a producer willing to spend hours of rehearsal for such worthless ends? This is a play without characters, a farce without jokes, a torture for cast and audience alike.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I have a hazy recollection that this play first appeared In London about a year ago and was unanimously damned by the critics. If so, what possessed Repertory to choose it? The heart-breaking thing is that, no matter how much effort they exert, the company can only look foolish. It is possible that Brian Meads, Molly Parton, and John Roberts are quite good actors. From past experience we know that John Gordon is a skilful and experienced producer. The point is that it is impossible to judge any of them by this production, since it calls for nothing but a reasonably lively pace. There is not the least opportunity for subtlety of characterisation or even good comic presentation. There is nothing to extend the producer's imagination—or that of the audience.

New Zealand theatre is notoriously in the doldrums. So long as plays like this are staged there is little hope of building up a large play-going public. Anyone trying this as his first experience of the theatre would almost certainly be seen at the latest Terry Thomas film next evening.

Repertory's plans for the rest of the year are published on the back of the programme. They offer little encouragement. To the best of my knowledge, the only play listed which has any value at all is Peter Schaffer's Five Finger Exercise.

Nelson Wattie