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The Spike: or, Victoria College Review September 1921

A Concert

page 29

A Concert.

On Saturday, 10th September, the Dramatic Club made its debut before a large and discreet audience. The Debating Society had originally arranged the concert in order to pay for an unusually expensive Plunket Modal Contest, but later, at its own request, the Dramatic Club took over the running. Three comedies were presented, and it is perhaps as well that the audience was not too severely critical.

Proceedings opened with an orchestral symphony, perpetrated by Miss Joseph, on the fiddle, and Messrs. George Mackay and Win Watkins. These performers kept the interest of the audience during the intervals, and generally succeeded in preventing their brooding too bitterly over the performance. During the first interval, too, Mr. Rishworth, without whom no College concert is able to proceed, favoured us with "The Poet's Dream," by Elgar; but—remembering doubtless the Town Hall episode—didn't accept the polite invitation to an encore.

The first play was the time-honoured "Chiselling," which deals with the escapades of an impecunious youth who has to win his beautiful heiress by deceiving her artistic but sand-blind uncle. He poses as a sculptor, and for his masterpiece must needs deck out his man-servant as a marble Alexander. How the uncle wanted to touch up the "statue," and how the statue got drunk just after the match was agreed to, make up a quite good "situation" comedy. Mr. P. J Smith as the man-servant gave an excellent impersonation. He was not the chirpy, volatile character that was probably intended; but he has a good-humoured bent for fooling and a capacity for taking command of the stage that make up for any otherdefects. His attack on the old art connoisseur was, if anything, too realistic. Mr. S. A. Wiren as the uncle and guardian, in an ill-fit-ting wig, seemed to be debating the point of "to dodder or not to dodder;" and his age varied from about twenty to a hundred and twenty. However, he knew his lines well enough to bring the play back again whenever the love-stricken sculptor made a worse than usual "break" in his part. Apart from an unfeigned eagerness in his love scene, Mr. V, Ross was far too matter-of-fact; but he has a good speaking voice which should help him to go further in the future. Miss O. Hickling, however, as the niece, looked very demure and pretty, but should forget her maiden modesty and self-consciousness when appearing on the stage. Miss A. Moncrieff, in the buffo part of the landlady who "liked meekness better than show," made a great hit with the audience, and put more light and shade into her words than anybody else during the evening.

Another good old stand by "A Pair of Lunatics" was performed in a most natural and experienced manner by Miss K. Bathgate and Mr. A. W. Free. The plot is simple—two guests at a mental hospital dance who mistake each other for inmates—but affords a lot of scope. Mr. Free raved beautifully, but was not quite cajoling enough towards his fellow-sufferer—who in turn was a trifle too restrained. However, as she had sportingly undertaken the part page 30 on Miss Baldwin filling ill only three days earlier, she did much better than we had dared to hope for. She had the "air" remarkably for a three days' patient.

The final fiasco was A. A. Milne's recent comedy, "Wurzel-Flummery," which treats of the dilemma of two politicians who are each bequeathed by an unknown plutocrat the sum of £50,000, subject to the trifling condition that they take the name of "Wurzel-Flummery." Personally we think we could easily get out of the difficulty, e.g., spend the money and change our name back again, or something of that kind; but such an expedient did not suggest itself to these "rulers of the people." The play was a welcome change in that it is a comedy of dialogue, and an appeal to the intellect, rather than a comedy of situation and an appeal to the instincts. Mr. W.R. Kennedy was not at his best as the elder politician, and seemed to miss the pompous and uncontradictable character portrayed in the book. He lacked the polish and veneer of the true politician; but his fine stage presence and enunciation counted for much. Mr. G'.O. Cooper, his co-beneficiary, erred a little the other way; he put a lot of vitality into his acting, and looked charmingly boyish—too much so for the clever debater he was depicting. But he made all Ins points most effectively. Mr. J. B. Yaldwyn made a fine solicitor—eccentric solicitor—when he came to ask whether the condition was accepted, and well deserved the round of applause he received from the audience. His foppish and carefree attitude appeared real rather than acted—let us trust it is not so. Miss Eileen Smith, daughter of the first M.P. and cherishing designs on the second, dressed and acted charmingly—as was, of course, only to be expected She was not quite irresponsible enough when acepting the name as a joke, but that was the only time she failed to convince. Miss Marjorie Willcocks was excellent as the wife who was bewildered but anxious to do the right thing. We think that with such a husband she should have been more subdued, but that was the fault of the part rather than the actress.

Altogether it was not so terrible a performance as it might have been, and doubtless the Club will next stage something more ambitious. It wishes to thank Messrs. Stanley Warwick, H. E. Nicholls and P. B. Broad, who all attended two or three rehearsals, and Miss. M. Richmond, who did the "making up."

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Sketches of womens hairdos