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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 9. 1ts May 1973



In their choice of Joe Musaphia's Victims Downstage seems to have discovered a local gold-mine. The play is comic melodrama, review-type theatre, moving by way of one-line gags, innuendos, and complication of plot. It's a very well-made play—technically proficient, if shallow and darting. In terms of what Musaphia wanted to acheive, in terms of what Downstage hoped to get out of it, and the audience's desire to be entertained, the play was a great success. And the reviewer thus has no right to impose her own demands that a play be more than a night out, or a series of weak jokes if it hopes to satisfy. The weak jokes send members of other sub-cultures into guffaws and chortles. As the author realises, he'll "never appeal to your generation", nor is he trying to. As an example of the 'light-comedy' genre, Victims is superb.

The production "was all this writer expected", but I am getting heartily sick of the Downstage ensemble's mannerisms. An ensemble of this size endangers itself by overexposure and stereotyping (particularly Craig Ashley) which badly hinders the necessary imaginative and intellectual growth of an actor. The same, worn set of inflexions and stances simply will not do, play in, play out, even it the characters are somewhat stereotyped, as in Victims, By contrast, Ian Watkins' handling of the role of an anti-pom crusader was sincere and compact, and thus he managed to invest an ambivalent character with dignity and reality. For me, most of the actors mirrored the play—professional, but humdrum.