RADIO By ALAN NICHOLLS
LAST week's listening threw up two sharply
contrasting plays - Euripides' "Medea" and Beverley Nichols' "Shadow of the Vine." They had nothing in common except excellent acting and production.
The Beverley Nichols play was the premiere of the new General Motors Hour. It was an honorable beginning, though it
is a pity a better play was not chosen for the event.
The theme was of a household wrecked by a father's dipsomania, a disease which is also incipient in the son. Nichols seems to believe, against medical opinion, that dipsomania can be hereditary.
AS far as the lines
were concerned, it was mere slick melodrama, but the act- ing of Neva Carr-Glyn and Keith Eden was subtle and "three dimensional" enough to give real body to the play.
Keith Eden, in par- ticular, had read his part with loving care. Avoid- ing the pitfall of making his character a mere vul- gar drunk, he brought out all the poignant misery of compulsive alcoholism.
It is a pity that this fine and sensitive actor is not heard more often in major lead parts.
The other play, 3LO's rendering of the "Medea," was not so . even in the acting.. It : could not have been so. I because the leading j roles are loo strong and ! terrible to be perfectly I controlled, except by j genius.
j It is a tremendous tri | bute, to actress Lyndall = Barbour and producer I Neil Hutchinson in par ¡ ticular, that the play \ succeeded in making its i proper smashing impact.
I I didn't think it would, = for a start. I was listen | ing with some other I people, and the opening I scene, with the sick moo I ing of the aged nurse, \ and' the off-stage con | tralto ululations of I Medea, reduced us all to j embarrassed laughter.
j We nearly turned the ! knob. Thank heaven we Ë didn't, for once Lyndall
[ Barbour found her feet,,,,, \ she wound her way into \ I the greatest of Euripides' | I great women with im-1 1 pressive skill. I ¡ Her secret was this: 1 I Though all her lines, on | I the face of it, were | I heavy, she knew how to ¡ I make some of them | I lightly insinuating. She | | used contrast. | I Years ago, I heard = I Sybil Thorndike and | I Lewis Casson in this I I play. They yelled their i ¡ heads off for three solid ¡
hours, leaving audience and cast alike in a state of shattered exhaustion, with nothing achieved.
This cast knew better, or their producer in- structed them better. Perhaps Neil Hutchinson had heard Thorndike,
At all events, the plas I was so good that those I of us who heard it to- | gether spent the rest of I the evening discussinc 1 it, looking up Medea and ¡ Euripides in reference \ books, and so on. i
That's a high tribute I to any radio play. I
Light-under a busliell
T^HE A.B.C. some
times slips first class shows through the microphone with such careful furtiveness that only the most in- veterate dial - twister would know they were
A good example was i he Australia Day show from 3AR last Saturday at 6 p.m.
The show was made^in London, and its compere was Peter Finch. Just look at the Australian talent he had lined up:
A sketch by Joy Nichols and Dick Bent- ley. A beautiful ness' streamlined Kitty Bluett. Australian Barbara Lee from "Much Binding," sing- ing with Sydney bari- tone John Cameron. Chopin by Noel Mcw ton-Wood, comedy by Billy Kerr, "Home, Sweet Home" hy Joan Hammond, and "Waltzing Matilda" by Harold Williams.
Why was this splendid roll of Australian talent featured at 6 o'clock in- stead of 8? Why was it
inadequately advertised" I Well, you ask them your- 1 selves. I'll warn you - | you'll have to write to ¡ Sydney. I
REFERRING to the f
recent contro-I versy with the A.B.C.,1 the chairman, Mr. Boyer. 1 wrote a further letter I too late for inclusion in I last week's column. The I substance of it is in thp I paragraph which 11 quote: ' I
"/ can only repeat more 1 categorically than pre- f viously that the A.B.c. \ has never on any occa- I sion submitted a contro- 1 vcrsial . talk to the \ Broadcasting Control I Board for approval or I disapproval. The entire I responsibility >jor contro- \ vcrsial matter rests with f the Commission." I
Although it contradicts 1 good evidence to the I contrary, Mr. Boyer'.s I statement rings true. I Thcre'can be no doubt of f
his good faith. Unless ¡ quotable evidence is un- ¡ covered, there let the | matter rest. j