The following review of this spring's Hasty Pudding Show, "1776," was written for the Crimson by B. McK. Henry '24. At Harvard B. McK. Henry was captain of the crew, and also an editor of the Lampoon. Since his graduation he has been connected with the Youth's Companion and is also know as the author of "Dscelt."
In the judgment of dis yeah baby, "1776" is far and away the best Pudding Show since the War. Which war? Why, the Revolution, of course.
As a solo, dancer, Scott Wilson beats anything seen on the college stage in a decade; what's more, the boy can act. What's more than that--if you insist on something more--his lady dancing partner, Mr. Courtland Gross, is almost as good. We don't know where Gross learned to dance, still less where he discovered the subtle secret of how women charm. One thing sure, he didn't learn it playing hockey on that team which administered such a satisfactory walloping to the gentlemen from Yale, Princeton, and Dartmouth. As for Wilson, all the experts in such matters swear that he has improved his last year's performance about 100 per cent. Figures talk. On that basis, the figure he cuts as the ravishing Miss Dashwood is a monologue in itself.
Orpheo--Adonis Performer on Goofus
If you hate to watch good dancing, however, come to hear that undergraduate Orpheo--Adonis, C. E. Henderson '28 perform upon his alleged musical instrument, the Goofus. It would not be fair to the mummers to describe to you this interesting invention. Thuffith it to thay that the Goofuth its worth hearing, and Ichabod Barlett of the Class of 1780 worth seeing when he accomplishes his unexpected goofusization.
As the name implies, "1776" tells the story of a bygone day. When we confide to you that one of the characters is George Washington, you may surmise than the scene is not laid in Victorian England, nor on the conventional. Island Far Away, where a group of modern Harvard undergraduates and Back Bay debutantes in the past have sung topical songs and fallen in love under a nitrogen moon.
This year marks a radical departure from the Pudding's post-war tradition. The action takes place in Cambridge, Mass, during the American struggle for independence. Instead of football games, the undergraduates spend their spare time fighting the revolutionary war on our own campus. You feel that if you wandered very far from the Yard, you would begin to hear the booming of British guns. Wonder of wonders, there is a very real plot, involving a spy, and a beautiful woman suspected of being a spy, and an undergraduate who has fall-on in love with an actress (proving that this is an old story after all.) At times, your correspondent was actually ready to throw eggs at the wicked villian. Captain Higbee.
Some of the funniest scenes of the play center on Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Craigle, played by J. M. Gates '27, and C. T. F. B. lyon '27. This pair, as the henpecked husband and the nagging wife, sling some gags that will make your hair curl, and exude one song, "Life Is No Bed Roses" that, in the words of one of the Graduates' Night audience, is "sure fire".
"Love Shines in Bold Eyes"
There is an exceedingly handsome and serious young man--in the part of Major Bannard--perhaps it is his love for the actress that makes him so, and when he comes on the stage, one is reminded that this is a musical comedy after all. Love shines in his bold young eyes. He is the conventional hero every inch. Perhaps this is inevitable. Perhaps this is inevitable. Perhaps an audience expects its here to say nothing that is not dignity and decorum.
Another rather typical moment is at the opening of the second act when Lieutenant Van Renssellaer assures us in a most mellifluous baritone that he is searching for the Girl of His Dreams. While he is still hunting for her rather noisily, the chorus enters, and performs a really beautiful minuet, which happily detracts attention from Lieutenant Var. Renssellaer's Night Mare Mamma.
Don't let these little criticisms disturb you. It is a critic's unfortunate duty to go on the assumption that no show is perfect; in fact unless we made a few somewhat artificially nasty remarks, you would go on the assumption that, like Mr. Henderson, we were simply blowing yen the goofus.
Eaton Does Washington Justice
Last but not least, let us spatter a brief word of praise upon F. M. Eaton '27 for his admirable rendering of a very difficult part--General Washington. First and always, he must maintain a dignity which will at no time seem ridiculous, even when he has to conduct a tete a tete with Miss Dashwood. The authors of the show have happily given him every opportunity to do "Washington justice, especially when he recites the Legend of the Durms, a serious dramatic monologue near the beginning of the second act. If the company are human, they, and especially Eaton himself, will feel pardonably neverous about including anything so "heavy." That the Legend of the Drums drew a few guffaws on Graduates' Night, is no proof that it will be laughed at before a starch and chiffon audience in fact, to the contrary. The Legend of the Drums is not only an excellent narrative poem, but it fits in admirably with the spirit of the play. If an audience is forced to laugh too much it gets tired of laughing.
The songs this year are of a high quality, an reflect the general excellence of "1776." Walt until you see the Minute Men when the curtain goes up, and well, just wait. Apparently that's what the Minute Men did.
Pudding Finds its Theme
The smoothness and finish of the production is very impressive. At last, the Pudding can justly claim to have put on not only as amusing but as well-staged a production as any other college.
This show truly makes one feel that at last the Pudding has found its proper theme; the humorous dramatization of traditions that are Harvard's and nobody else's. On its tour over the country this year, the Pudding will carry with it not merely the essence of a Harvard undergraduate club, but the essence of Harvard itself. That is as is should be.