Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 8. 1965.
Vivian St Now Our King's Cross?
Vivian St Now Our King's Cross?
By Salient Reporter Rod Edmond
New Zealand's first allmale revue has already made a shattering impact on the local entertainment scene.
Playing before a packed audience of one Salient reporter. Salient's advertising manager, and all the staff members, the "boys" turned on a class of performance not normally seen in a city the size of Wellington.
The recently-opened Purple Onion revue and coffee bar claims to support a cast direct from a highly-successful season at Sydney's King's Cross. The manageress disclosed that she has also had several lucrative offers from Las Vegas nightclubs, but unsure of public reception there she decided to join Wellington's already glittering array of sophisticated night spots.
Sharp on the dot of 11.15, a mere 45 minutes after the advertised starting time, there sounded a fanfare or trumpets reminiscent of the opening bars of the national anthem. This was immediately and very cleverly switched over to a blaring rendition of the Charleston, which served to emphasise the dualistic nature of the performance about to be seen, and the fading red curtains swung back.
They revealed a six-foot-plus, well-built and closely-shaven young man in his late twenties, who by the addition of long strawcoloured pigtails, a pretty little pink frock, and specially imported size 10 sling-backs, had been cleverly and convincingly disguised as a little girl of four. With mincing strides she proceeded to gallop around the stage, holding up her dress so as to reveal the obvious femininity of her bulging thigh muscles, while opening and shutting her mouth in time to Shirley Temple's "On the Good Ship Lollipop. Unfortunately this record had a tendency to get stuck in a groove and several times we in the audience became mightily alarmed for the safety of this talented young performer, fearing that she may have been suffering from either a dislocated jaw or asphyxiation. However, this was but a minor drawback in a convincing and moving portrayal of the imaginary world of a four-year-old.
The standard set by the opening item was maintained throughout the evening, and all performances were well-received and royally applauded by the large body of actual staff members present.
Although titled the "Roaring 20s" the producers showed an admirable and praiseworthy flexibility in thematic treatment, drawing on the music of Gershwin, Lionel Bart and many noted, if as yet obscure, contemporary writers of considerable merit. While cleverly bringing in these Universal implications, the producers never lost sight of their original intention and in the lull between each item it was always the Charleston which returned. In this way the audience was never allowed to relax and there was a perpetual upsurge in rhythmic excitement which was climaxed with the group appearance of the massed chorus. This was undoubtedly the high point of the evening, and the accumulated tension was well mixed with humour when one of the cast suddenly found his left breast dangling around his waist, white another went through what must have been a harrowing experience with a slipping g-string.
When interviewed later, the manageress and co-producer accounted for the success of the show by explaining that the "boys" were able to put everything they had into their work because they enjoyed it, in fact they loved it. Observation would support this; the "boys" are obviously inseparable, they work as a team, and they love their work.—Ron Edmond.