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The Spike or Victoria College Review 1937

Extravaganza in Retrospect

page 16

Extravaganza in Retrospect

The revues of 1937 were well acted and produced, but three features especially stand out in retrospect—the neat political satire of "The Book of Bob." the "Rush-in Ballet" in "Daze Bay Nights," and the excellent staging of "The Plutocrats."

On the whole, we liked "Bob" best, partly, perhaps, because the piece came first in an over-long programme, but chiefly because we thought it came nearest to what an extravaganza should be. It was good, topical burlesque, it had plenty of ideas, and it was not too long or overburdened with songs and ballets.

The "Rush-in Ballet." in the versatile Mr. Carrad's "Daze Bay Nights," was one of the best things of the evening—perhaps one of the best items in recent extravs. The Hula Ballet succeeded, too—men's ballets like these always go over well.

Mr. Meek, author of "The Plutocrats." is a gifted versifier as well as an efficient stage magician. To our mind, however, this piece would have been improved if it had had a lot more dialogue and a lot less singing. Clever as the songs were, they could not possibly go over in the way that dialogue can. Songs, we believe, need to be few in number, simply worded, written to catchy tunes, and well sung, if they are to succeed.

We think, too. that "The Plutocrats" should have been a good deal shorter, to end the evening's entertainment in reasonable time. Whatever the number of shows on the programme, a quarter past ten is about late enough to finish.

There were some excellent scenes and ballets in "The Plutocrats," and the costuming deserved high praise. Staging and costuming were perhaps the most outstanding features of the whole show, and were a considerable advance on the standard of a few years ago.

The orchestra worked hard throughout, but as always, suffered somewhat from lack of practice.

In conclusion, we must ask, What is to be the policy for future extravaganzas? Recent shows have gone in for more and more ballets and singing. That is, they have tended in the direction of musical comedy. But however well we may do along this line, we only suffer by comparison with professional shows, with whom, naturally, in the absence of time, money and talent, we cannot possibly compete.

On the other hand, there are some things that students really CAN do on the stage, and in the past the public has looked for these. For instance, students can turn on brainy topical satire, and they can do first-class humorous ballets. Two or three short revues, lasting altogether not much over two hours, burlesque like that of "Bob," more ballets on the "Rush-in" model, a few rousing songs, staging such as distinguished "The Plutocrats"—that is our idea of an extravaganza.