“BUNTY PULLS THE STRINGS"
Far the enlightenment of the few who have not heard or read about Mr Graham Moffat's comedy, we may remark that it does not pretend to bo a story, but just a sketch of Scottish character. The assigned date is 1860, and that fits in with the. period of the crinoline, of which we see .much. There is, however, so far as we can understand, no particular reason, apart from the crinoline, for adopting .a, remote a time, or any time, since Scotch is.Scotch, unmindful of the precession of the years, and in so far as the Scotch ness of Bunty and her colleagues is custombound or anomalous one has only to push back a bit further from the towns to find in all its vigor those ways and forms of .speech that distinguish our friends the Northerners and have largely helped to make them a power in the world. In 1 Bunty Pulls the Strings,’ then, we find no plot worthy of the name. Do not conclude from thus remark that the play is lacking in situations. As a fact, its cornedv is such as to appeal to the eye as well as to the ear. But its strong point is in the delineation of character, and praise is due to the author for finding his material in the villages and the homes, so that the men and women represented can be identified, as it wore, by the person of common observation, ami owing to this method Mr Moffat widens the area of interest, bringing in not the few who have met the Bruces and the Jessie Browns and the Baillie Nieol Jarvies and auch-like heroic and romantic or eccentric persons, but all who have .studied the Scottish character. Tho talc, such as it is, deals with the courting of Willum and Bunty; the coming of manhood of Rab Biggar and his amazement at his own temerity in bursting away from the stern ordering of his grim but well-meaning father; tho designs of two elderly spinsters upon the widower Tammas Biggar; tho spitefulness of the lady who is left; and, through all, the adorable planning of Bunty Biggar, who without the least touch of impertinence or “bossing,” contrives to so direct all tho family happenings, ordinary or byordinary, as to make everything work for good. Bunty is, in short, a benevolent fairy, whose method is the tho exercise of womanly sweetness in developing the thoughts of a clear mind. She has a fearful task on liand. It is hers to do tlie washing and to make her younger brother learn his catechism, to look pretty in Wiliam's eyes and to regulate the household according to the prescribed strictness which makes it an offence to look out of tho window on Sunday; to report upon tho qualifications of Eden Dunlop when that lady comes up as a possible second wife for Bunty’s father, am! to confound the irascible Susie Simpson when she, as the rejected candidate for wifehood, tries to blast the character of the old mam Bunty pulls all sorts of strings, never with a jerk, never to hurt, and also never without purpose and Tfect.
A strong point of merit in tin's play is that nothing that happens looks silly, and that nobody appears to be doing air,thing odd. It keeps the crowd laughing and gives them not only something to laugh at at the time, but plenty of food for subsequent merriment. Indeed, our feeling about ‘Bunty’ is that on thinking over it to-day it seems more laughable (Iran it did whilst we. were witnessing it last iti/ht.
To bring about Mich a icsiilt there must bo much in tile drama itself, and perhaps quite as much ur more in tho actors. Miss Ella Young was surely horn to the part of Bunty. She plays it faultlessly. Well, perhaps that is hardly (he proper way of putting it. We suggest that her presentation is not quite faultless, or was not last night. She had a, tendency to drop her voice. r,«> that parts of sentences were lost, and now and again she addressed the audience instead of the stage. But- we may confidently assert that the conception is perfect. Next to Miss Young ue i : l:ed Mrs Moffat. She made a charming Eelen. Her sweet voice and her nice appreciation of the dignity of middle-age were the rlpcf im/red knits in an artistic impersonation. Miss Nan Taylor was also effective in the unthankful part of the vixenish Susie Simpson. Mr Graham .Moffat, the .nit.’ior, impersonated Tammas Biggar in a very easy and thorough mannei, without a particle of exaggeration. Air D. Urqnhart's portrayal of Wcelnm Spninr, was so lifelike as to convey the idea that he was not acting at all. Mr \bie Barker, the xreepoi,sihU‘ Bah, undertook the low comedy role with reu'rt that < nolle him to our simere and unqualified ihank?. He is certainly a clever and artistic actor. Such are the principal:- and they are ably supported hv a parti.ula.ily strong coni]any.
•Bunty’ is irebly welcome to Dunedin. During the last- year we have been ?tßiving for want of a real play. As a fact. we have had only 10 plays here for a twelvemonth, to ‘Bunty’ is a*t manna, in the wilderness. Then il comes as a solace to a community who need some relict from the shocking war Double which is getting on our nerves. Thirdly, we can honestlv recommend ‘Bunty’ on its merit . last night it was witnessed hy a big house, and the people enjoyed it eo much that they are sure to tell their friends to go and see it.
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“BUNTY PULLS THE STRINGS", Evening Star, Issue 15646, 10 November 1914
“BUNTY PULLS THE STRINGS" Evening Star, Issue 15646, 10 November 1914
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