The unfathomable, al¬most complete disinterest of Townsvilleites to live theatre perhaps was never more evident than at last night's opening presentation in the Theatre Royal by the Townsville Theatrical Society of English-born playwright John van Druten's comedy "Bell, Book and Candle."
Approximately half of the several hundred people who made up the audience had been admitted free of charge. However, the cast and all others asso¬ciated with the play can rest assured that those who did attend considered themselves treated to a really fine evening's enter¬tainment.
Aided in no small degree by attractive, aptly colour¬ful stage settings and lighting effects, the five-strong talented cast of amateurs gave a perfor¬mance which would have done credit to full-time professionals.
It is to be hoped that the repeat performances to¬night and to-morrow night will attract the large audi¬ences which a production of this calibre undoubtedly deserves.
None of the players could be singled out for special praise.
All the parts in the plot, even including that taken by Pyewacket, the cat, were played almost fault¬lessly.
June van Rooy, as Gil¬lian Holroyd, the witch who bewitches Anthony Henderson (Ron Hamil¬ton) the young publisher in an upstairs flat, handled well a very difficult role which called for many changes of mood.
Hamilton has seldom been seen to better advantage than in this role, and one might be forgiven for thinking that it was writ¬ten especially for him.
Marge George as Gil¬lian's Aunt Queenie, one of Gillian's colleagues in the field of witchcraft, gave her role the usual sound treatment, and it was she who provided most of the humorous in¬terludes.
Ken Smith as Nicholas Holroyd, Gillian's would-be writer brother and the third member of the family of spell-casters, and Maurice Kimberley as the famous Sidney Redlitch, who wishes to pub¬lish a book on witchcraft, added their fair share of quality to the perfor¬mance.
Prom the outset, when Gillian uses her be¬witching powers through Pyewacket to make Anthony fall in love with her, but then shies at the prospect of marriage, right through to the last min¬utes during which she loses her powers when she falls in love, the play holds the avid interest of the audience throughout.
The humorous situa¬tions which develop when Nicky divulges part of the truth about the Holroyd household to author Redlitch and the startling consequences of his desire to publish a book on the ramifications of the craft led up to a well conceived, and well played ending.