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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 22, No. 5. June 8, 1959

Repertory's "The Desperate Hours"

Repertory's "The Desperate Hours"

Joseph Hayes's 'The Desperate Hours" starts by showing us an ordinary American suburban household. The family leave for the office and school. Mrs Milliard is left to wash the breakfast dishes and to do the housework. Another ordinary day. Then, wham! Their whole world is upside down. Three escaped convicts have picked the Milliard's house to hide in until the leader, Glen Griffin, has paid off an old debt with a local cop, and until he receives some money. The family is caught in this terrible web of fear and desperation. The play switches from the house to the police station, back and forth as the situation grows worse and as the police start slowly to gather clues and move in.

But where was the desperation that should have been felt all over the theatre? This is a good thriller and it was given a good production, except for this main lack of feeling of danger and desperation. The American accents were poor and often forgotten. Wouldn't it have been better to have let the accents be the actors' normal voices?

The setting was excellent, and, for once, it deserved the applause that Repertory audiences always accord their scene designers whether the setting is good or indifferent.