She Stoops To Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith.
Directed by Tony Turner. Assisted by Kate Blackhurst. Set Design by Cate Clelland. Costumes by Anna Senior. Lighting design by Stephen Still. Canberra Repertory Society. Theatre 3. September 22 to October 8 2016.
Reviewed by Peter Wilkins
|Zoe Priest as Kate Hardcastle and Elaine Noon|
as Mrs. Dorothy Hardcastle.
|Kate Harris as Constance Neville. Teig Sedhana as George Hastings|
Jonathon Pearson as Mr. Hardcastle. George Pulley as Young Marlow
|Teig Sedhana as George Hastings and Elaine Noon as |
Mr. Dorothy Hardcastle
Director Turner, assisted by Kate Blackhurst, has drawn fine performances from the cast. Formality, foppery and frivolity lend this production entertaining authenticity. Even the less experienced members of the cast exude an assurance in performance that gives their characters credibility. The careful observance of posture and manner breathe life into the ridiculous nature of the characters from George Pulley’s bashful bows as the awkward suitor, Young Marlow to the affected movements of his friend George Hastings (Teig Sadhana). It is pleasing to see Ralph Wilson veteran, Jan Smith, return to the stage with delightfully obsequious and idiosyncratic performances in the three roles that he plays. There are also focused performances from the rabble of alehouse fellows and maids and the servants of the house. It is the mark of a cohesive and expressive ensemble.
|Adam Salter as Tony Lumpkin. Jan Smith as Roger.|
She Stoops To Conquer belongs to the principals and in this production, Turner has elicited some excellent performances, notably from Adam Salter as Tony Lumpkin, the comical, blustering, simple clownish son of Mrs. Hardcastle and Zoe Priest as the delightfully coquettish, conniving and enchanting Kate Hardcastle , who stoops to conquer the bashful Young Marlow by posing as a mere maid of the supposed inn. Priest is an actress, riding on a wave of considerable talent and professional potential. There is excellent support also from Kate Harris as Hasting’s inamorata, Constance Neville and Elaine Noon’s befuddled and bewildered Mrs. Dorothy Hardcastle. As Mr. Hardcastle, Jonathan Pearson effectively captures the confusion and ire of his perplexing situation as Lumpkin’s mischievous trick plays out its confusion.
|Imogen Thomas, Zoe Priest, Patricia Manley and Karin Einhaus|
Turner and his team have created a production that brings a fresh appeal to this classic eighteenth century comedy. Restoration Theatre and its early successors have generally not fared too well as popular productions by amateur theatre companies. Rep’s production is a revival that deserves full houses and would be a perfect example of the genre to amuse and entertain students of English dramatic literature of the period. For others, Rep’s She Stoops To Conquer is also a delight not to be missed.