Sunday, November 19, 2006

Miss Perkins is the Energetic Secretary of the Women's Anti-Socialist League

Last night I went to see a play at a theatre nestled in a laneway off Westgarth Grove, behind the Northcote Town Hall. The Time is Not Yet Ripe, by Louis Esson, is a political satire from early 1900s Australia, and a very strange one, too.

Doris Quiverton, son of Prime Minister Joseph Quiverton, is contracted by Miss Perkins, "The energetic secretary of the women's anti-socialist league," to run for the Melbourne seat of Wombat. By the sort of unlikely coincidence that all romantic comedies are made out of, she turns out to be running for the seat against her lover, the socialist Sydney Barrett. We get an idea what sort of socialism he stands for after the interval, where he gives a rousing but meaningless speech. "I believe in everything you are too stupid to understand!" he says, encouragingly, to the masses. That's about the clearest political statement you get from him, and no clearer is the statement by Sir Quiverton, speaking on behalf of his daughter (who makes no campaign speeches of her own, but apparently spends her time arranging the design of campaign cars 'painted out with dear little union jacks and stars'). "I say, we will go this far, and further!" says Quiverton, before stepping down from his podium.

It was wonderful to see an Edwardian costume drama, with all its trappings. Joseph Quiverton's mutton chops were impressive; equally impressive was the Lady Pillsbury's neuralgia, which she always seems to be coming down with. I rather liked the bit characters, especially the impassioned 'Violet Faulkner, BA, LL.B', who first appears as the officious stenographer for the Women's Anti-Socialist League. Doris Quiverton, who has just discovered she is running against Sydney, bursts into the Anti-Socialist League offices and declares that she is ready to give up the campaign. Violet proceeds to exhort Doris in the name of progress and feminism to carry on with the fight; this being done, she slips on her white cotton gloves and her hat and proceeds to the doorway.

The character list should give a fairly good idea of the sort of humour you get in the play. Here it is:
Sir Joseph Quiverton, Prime Minister of Australia

Doris, his daughter

An English Butler

Sir Henry Pillsbury, Attorney-General

Lady Pillsbury

John K. Hill, Chicago businessman

Sydney Barrett

Miss Perkins, Secretary of the Anti-Socialist league

Members of the socialist party:
- Otto

- Harry Hopkins

- Peter Jensen

- Arthur Gray

Bertie Wainwright

Violet Faulkner, BA, LL.B
The show is playing next week at the Northcote Town Hall Studio, and it's definitely worth seeing. As for me, I've got another play lined up Thursday next week: Babes in the Wood, at the Malthouse. Oh, and apparently yesterday, some folks went along to the big protesty thing happening in the city.

I think I got the better deal!


Anonymous said...

Thanks. That's really lovely.
For the record, I like to pretend that I'm more ethereal than I actually am.

TimT said...

That's fine, happy to do it!

If you only maintain a Veneer of Ethereality, wouldn't that make you venereal?

Caz said...

That guy has a great blog Timmy, and did excellent job of covering the G-20 yobbos. How very tolerant of him to persevere with it.

TimT said...

I actually got that link from Tim Blair's site; I'd previously known of Korgmeister from his website here. I think he's a uni student in music, my own field! (Actually, I'm not sure about this, but Korgmeister may be a name of an electronic keyboard.)

nailpolishblues said...

Yes, I think that frock would really suit you Tim...

...what? This post isn't about the clothes...?


TimT said...

I don't know about the hat, but I heartily approve of the umbrella.

Darlene said...

Looks interesting.

Thanks for the review.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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