Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 6. 1965.
Extravaganza '65 is the proverbial curate's egg—with most of the good parts at the beginning.
The initial favourable impression created by Act I was completely dispelled by the unfunny jokes that came thinly spread in the second half. The script of this half could have been improved only by complete rewriting.
Act I, though it needed ruthless cutting, particularly in the tedious scene about Father O'Malley's big brass organ, had more merit. It ended well with the NZBC news, an hilarious scene, thanks mainly to the fine effort of Don Brad-shaw.
Comparison of the two acts drives home the old lesson so far unlearned by Extrav buffs—that writing a script with a continuous plot is an extremely skilled job, far too difficult for ordinary University students. Taken separately, some of the scenes in Act II could have provided useful material, if all the extraneous puns had been cut, and the dialogue considerably cut.
Much of the responsibility for the looseness of Extrav must fall on the producer. It was his job, once the show had been moved, to cut, alter or rearrange those parts which needed attention. This was not the producer's only failing. Movement and grouping were extremely poor—it was as if Doug Wilson saw movement as only a necessary but annoying way of getting actors in place to fire jokes at the audience. There was little evidence of any serious thought about exits—to have the cast suddenly disappear from the stage for no apparent reason is extremely distracting and doesn't help the general continuity. The same criticism can be made of the self-conscious movement of the cast around the stage, and their placing on it.
Extrav is not complete without its singing, which this year was considerably better than that of several previous years. It was such a pity that the songs were not really worth the effort.
Male Ballet is, by tradition, another "must." This cavorting of hairy legs around the stage can usually be relied on to raise a laugh, and it did. But it could have been vastly more funny if the dancers had some semblance of timing and co-ordination.
A review would not be complete without a mention of the programme, which suffers from the same malaise as the show itself. It speaks of "this year's debacle"—a statement which has a ring of truth. Prophecy can arise in strange places.
— D. P. Wright.