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The Spike or Victoria College Review October 1929

"The Young Idea"

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"The Young Idea"

The Dramatic Club's annual public performance this year was held in the Blue Triangle Hall on the 16th and 17th August, the offering being "The Young Idea," by Noel Coward (we beg the pardon of the club's publicity man)—by the "talented" Noel Coward! The publicity agent continues "the play which took London by storm—"—"packed full of brilliant wit and sparkling comedy." After witnessing the presentation it is certainly difficult to see why the club chose such a play when they might have utilised one of, say, Barrie's, and thereby not have wasted the talent of its members on something not worth reading. "The play which took London by storm"—of disgust without a doubt—"the play which broke records"—gramophone records or those established by the most unsuccessful but certainly no others—"packed full of brilliant wit and sparkling comedy" on most rare occasions, except in the third act.

In spite of all difficulties the performance, we understand, was financially successful, and we hope the type of play chosen this year will be forgotten before next year to such an extent that the takings will not be detrimentally affected.

Now for the personalities, one by one: Miss Mary Cooley, who was also the producer, took on very short notice, the part of Cicely filled (according to our programme—price threepence!) by Miss Sinclair Breen. "Why?" was a much discussed question with the audiences, but we will not pursue the question further here.

As was expected, Miss Cooley's performance left nothing to be desired. Her cutting sarcasm was quite out on its own, and we extend our sympathy to any future husband who might be unlucky enough to be "acted upon" by it, in place of the usual cheery good nature known to all students at V.U.C. In this case the "husband" was the capable Mr. A. D. Priestley ("George") and in spite of Cicely's spirited attacks his retaliation was of the cool, calm and collected type, by which he often scored off his second wife.

George's rival and Cicely's secret passion was Roddy (played by Mr. Jack Cowan); his part was quite satisfactory but his love-making weak and uninspiring for one with his past (in the play only, of course!). Fancy declaring in most passionate tones, "My God! How I love you, Cicely"—from the other end of the couch. And again his persuasions to her to elope left much to the imagination. But perhaps he did not wish to rouse Cicely's cutting sarcasm which she often practised before him on dear old George. At any rate, instead of being embraced she almost, very nearly had to do the embracing herself.

The two young liars, Gerda and Sholto, were portrayed by Miss Edna Purdie and Mr. Ralph Hogg respectively, and the interest attached to them, page 28 their doings and remarks, was sustained to the very end. But Sholto, evidently bent on gazing into his father's eyes with true filial affection, would get between the footlights and his parents, casting heavy shadows which at times quite obliterated the handsome features of pater familias.

An amateur show has a distinct advantage over professionals: it does not have to fill minor parts with inferior players, and this fact was most noticable in "The Young Idea." Of these smaller parts Miss Bullen was perhaps the most outstanding of the women, and Mr. Chadwick of the men, but Misses Henderson and Nielsen and Messrs. Bannister and Wright are all worthy of mention. We are sorry there was not more of Mr. Chadwick, as his manner was as sure a laugh-getter as his remarks.

After a dramatic climax in the second act (which few would honour with the name "climax" at all) we had two new principals introduced to us in the third act to provide very necessary "comic relief" and "happy ending." Mr. Walter J. Hall as Hiram K. Walkin, ardent admirer of George's first, and divorced, wife, Jennifer and Miss Dorothy Martyn-Roberts as the wife. Miss Martyn-Roberts' work was without reproach, and it was a real novelty to see her playing a part younger than "Grandma—guaranteed over 60." We hope the club will keep in view the fact that this member is very capable and deserving of, and suited for younger parts.

With Miss Purdie, Messrs. Hall and Hogg on the stage together, we saw the best comedy team-work of the evening, and we are glad to say it was exhilarating, very refreshing, and stimulated a new interest for the realistic reunion which then took place between George and Jennifer.

Lastly, we must mention that anyone requiring a capable, neat, and efficient maid, should engage Maria (Miss Mildred Huggins).

No record would be complete without the mention of the assistance received from the College Orchestra, under the able conductorship of Mr. A. C. Keys. But would he conduct Billy Fear away from the fearful and resounding crashes he creates, evidently by kicking the big drum and cymbals, both at once at the wrong time. Although we may need a course in musical appreciation to enjoy the 'Varsity orchestra, we heartily object to being scared stiff by the overture. In this case something soft, soothing and gentle, would have been more suitable. However, matters improved as the evening wore on. and there was appropriate applause to the last entr'acte, "Valse des Heures." But our opinion mounting rapidly crashed to the lowest depths when we heard a series of weird noises after the final curtain. Some say it was "God Save the King," but the programme was wisely silent, and we were left guessing.

Miss Helen Dunn, the stage manager, is to be complimented on her excellent stage settings which must have taken much valuable time. Why was the overture late on both nights? From enquiry made we discovered and in fairness to the people behind the scenes, we must say, although we do not want to be unduly critical of the orchestra, that some idiot dropped his music, and the conductor had to find it and re-arrange it for him.

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On the last evening many beautiful flowers and boxes of chocolates were handed to the performers from an appreciative audience.

In conclusion, we would like to mention the three attractive programme sellers who did excellent work—Misses Rita Nolan, Lois Fox and Pat D'Ath—and regret they kept their wraps on the whole evening—we didn't get our threepence worth when buying from them! And lastly (let us whisper it) who was the orchestral stalls usher who put us, as well as many others, in reserved seats from which we were almost immediately ejected.