The D'Oyly Carte production of "Ruddigore" this week was better than "The Mikado" or "Patience" last week, but it was still the worst production of "Ruddigore" I've ever seen. I must admit that this is more a commentary on the excellence of the other two performances I've seen than on the D'Oyly Carte's production; I did enjoy it considerably. It was the most professional production I've seen, if not the most spirited.
I was very happy that Kenneth Sandford made up for his poor performances of Pooh-Bah and Grosvenor by being a very good Sir Despard. John Reed put in a very funny performance as Sir Ruthven, although at times he seemed to be playing the clown a bit more than's to my liking. (Personally, I would've liked to've seen him as Dick Dauntless; the personality of that role seems more suited to him.) in fact, on the whole, there were no bad performances as to the characterization. On the other hand, the production seemed to be cut badly as to effects. No imagination was shown at all in bringing the ghosts to life; the stage was just completely darkened for about 20 seconds while the actors took the places of the pictures in the frames. At least one number was cut out that is usually left in, even in the new "Ruddigore". It was obvious that the encores that were done had been planned before, and that audience appreciation had little to do with which numbers were encored and which weren't. and to me, there seemed to be a misplaced emphasis in tempo from time to time; a scene that should've been bouncy and lively was played a trifle too slowly and matter-of-factly, while another that should've been developed in more detail was rushed through. I'll admit that I don't know how much of this was because of the way D'Oyly Carte was playing it at this performance, and how much was standard to the new "Ruddigore" as opposed to the original version -- after seeing the Lamplighters do the original version, I suspect that all performances of the shorter version will look hasty and rough by comparison. On the whole, I enjoyed the show, though I don't think I'll ever hurry to see D'Oyly Carte do "Ruddigore" again, while I'll always be ready to sit through another performance of it by the Lamplighters, or to see how a new group will handle it.
"Pinafore" and "Pirates" are the last two operettas to be performed, during this coming week. "Pinafore" is supposed to be the one that D'Oyly Carte does best, and I've never seen "Pirates" yet. I'm looking forward to both.
Howard Thurlow -- "A fog is a light thing and a cool thing." Well, yes. It is also a damp thing and a sticky thing, and I'd say "cold" rather than "cool". Oh, not all fogs, but you make me wonder if the Great Lakes area ever has any real pea-soupers such as London gets, or we have here in Southern California from time to time. I can recall driving back to Mathom House after a movie one night, in a fog so thick that Bĵo had to walk in front of the car and keep calling out to let me know that I was keeping to the middle of the street and not swerving toward any cars parked along the curb. The fog was so bad that I couldn't even see as far as my headlights. Yes, a fog like this would be fascinating to walk through, provided a) you were just strolling and not trying to go anyplace in particular, and b) you didn't have to worry about traffic. ## Bruce's serial started so long ago, and has been so rambling (as befits a fannish version of "Peyton Place") that I don't think any of us are sure exactly what's going on any longer, if we ever were. As a continuing serial, like a newspaper comic strip, you're supposed to just jump in and start reading, without looking for any synopsis of what's gone before. ## I've impressed myself on this typewriter almost to its death; it's on the verge of needing repairs again. Actually, I got this typer from Bruce about five years ago, after I'd gotten tired of using my mother's pica Tower portable and was making noises about wanting an elite typewriter of my own. Bruce had this old clunker, which he'd used to type his first fanzines on, and he offered me unlimited use of it if I'd pay to have it put back into working order (he'd long since replaced it with a better one). So I did, and I've been using it ever since -- I finally bought it outright from Bruce a little later. So I'm not the only fan to impress himself on this typer; it's got a lot of Pelzian residue in it yet. I wonder what it says for my ego that I don't name my possessions? I'm not as strongly anti-name as Al Lewis is -- when fans told him he "had" to have a name for his house, he dubbed it The House Without a Name (and I haven't given it any since I moved in) -- but I just don't seem to be emotionally suited for anthropomorphizing objects.
Jim Schumacher -- The free driver training course given in high school is something that every kid should take advantage of. Not only does it give you an invaluable lesson on how to drive, but a lot of insurance companies will offer a discounted rate to drivers in the "danger age" (under 27, now) who've taken this course. Considering that you just about have to have a car to get around in Southern California, you'll doubtlessly be getting one someday, so now's the time to learn to drive one correctly.
Bruce Pelz -- I remember when traveling 900 miles for a party was considered SFP, and you couldn't consider yourself a trufan unless you at least made an attempt to get to whatever Berkeley blowout was going on. We haven't had much of that in the last few years -- I guess the Exclusion Act bitterness back in '64 put an end to it.
Chuck Crayne -- Dunning non-paying members for back dues is more likely to result in less participation in the club, I think. I agree that members should pay if they can, and some amount of dunning in public might be justified on rare occasions. But I'd hate to see such appear in Apa L (or at all) every week. A raucous scream of "Joe Fann owes us $1.50; when are you going to give us the money you owe us, Joe?" every week sounds as though it would become very depressing to the whole group.