In its 93rd production, now open to the public after a tumultuous reception by graduates last night, the Hasty Pudding has gone Broadway and vanished are the touches of Minsky that labelled past shows as "college." Audiences are going to enjoy "Fair Enough," because it is fast, gay and tuneful but they are not particularly going to want to see it repeated in the future. Art for art's sake is all right, but Edward C. Lilley, the Pudding's professional producer, must learn that in college shows art can go too far for its own good.
The score of the play, one of the best in recent years, was written by Elliott Forbes '40, Francis C. Lawrance '39, Alan J. Lerner '40 and Sherwood Rollins '41. It ranges from blues and a rhumba to an excellent parody of Gilbert and Sullivan, all played with gusto by Ruby Newman's orchestra. LeRoy Anderson conducting, and well rendered by the cast.
A conscious effort has been made to achieve artistry in "Fair Enough," and this has been successful through a skillful blending of music, costumes, settings and choreography. The chorus has been drilled to military precision by William Holbrook, and in one scene on a dark stage with luminous masks puts the Vincent Club to shame.
The plot deals with the troubles of "Homer Leland" (Roger Lapham '40) in raising enough cash to stage the World's Fair, and through it is woven an implausible little romance of the meets-loses-gets variety. The latter angle is handled in taste and in tune by Bayard Dillingham '40 and David Sheppard '41. The rest of the acting leaves much to be desired, although the cast can blame this with some justice on the book.
It is not from the lines but from the trucking of Marvin Scaife '39, the impersonations of Bayard Clarke '40, and the exaggerated rhumba of Charles D. Dyer III '39 and Peter Pratt '40 that the play derives its humor. And it must be said that these specialties, and particularly a conversation which John Johansen '39 carries on with a cow, come as a welcome relief from the almost too-perfect, too-beautiful body of the play, which in places occasions the audience a little embarrassment.
This ungrateful criticism is by no means a reflection on the cast, who really couldn't help themselves. They have placed themselves in the hands of a director who through ignorance violates the spirit of college theatricals. Their fellow clubmen have given them a fine score, good lyrics, a passable book and amusing stage sets; if they remind Mr. Lilley that he is not directing for Earl Carroll, they can make a good show out of it before it hits Boston. Even if they don't it will still be fair enough.