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Rusty Bugles Sound
A False Note
Doris Fitton's production of "Rusty Bugles," after a long tour in other States with vari- ous cast changes, was revived at the Tatler Theatre, Sydney, on Saturday night, by Carroll Fuller Theatres and Aztec Services.
The production has slipped a long way down the entertain- ment scale since its excellent be- ginnings l8 months ago.
Instead of the naturalness and spontaneity of the original ver- sion, in which every actor felt obliged to give an honest "docu- mentary" account of character and boredom in a Northern Territory army camp, the actors now think it is their actor-like duty to force the comedy, to emphasise, to distort nature into vaudeville, to imagine from isola- ted guffaws in their audience that they are being fair to the inten- tions of the author, Sumner Locke-Elliott.
Once upon a time these fel- lows used to swear and curse as Australian soldiers always sweat and curse, by force of habit. Now, Miss Fitton's actor? swear and curse self-consciously, as if aware of the shockingness of their cussing. In every sentence, ttey make the cuss-word the high Spot, where they used to make it, according to nature, incidental padding.
Censorship, and much valuable publicity therefrom, has evi- dently persuaded them that their livelihood rests in swearing, and has little to do with Locke Elliott's wonderfully truthful ob- servation of army boredom.
Much tougher language in the original version was much less offensive, because it was treated truthfully.
Frank O'Donnell; Ivor Brom- ley Smith, and John Kingsmill are still in their original roles. The last two are much as they were in the beginning, but' Mr. O'Donnell as Mac, the fat fellow with a wayward wife and a desire to give himself dermatitis bj; diligent scratching, has lost the quality that gave buoyant life to his grossness. /
HIS BIG MOMENT /
Desmond Rolfe's Darlfcey McClure concentrates on his/one big moment-the scene of n/aud lin drunkenness-but elsf/yhere the character lacks vitaUfty, so that you have as little cbfance of noticing it as of seeing/a canary flying into a summer silnset.
Ken Carroll's Ot wojuld be im-
proved if the acto/ sought to ,merge his own pc/sonality into Ot's personality, instead of try- ing to copy Ali*air Roberts's way o£ raaking hife personality fit the rote. '" ,.,/*/
Sidney Chambars is natural and unforced as / Kfcghead-but he needs the pr-Aer kit personality of his predecASS0^t ,f Keghead's long-wftri&g ,'gloominess, the damjvM»every show of optim ÍSJP'¡SJMW> make the full comic elByflmplicU in its truth to
sJMr Y.M.C.A. officer is repre
¿*Mr& as an absurd burlesque of