|She Stoops To Conquer|
By Oliver Goldsmith at The Questors
Warm-hearted, rumbustious and above all funny, Oliver Goldsmith's 18th century classic, She Stoops to Conquer, is one of the English stage's greatest comedies.
It is a classic comedy written at a time when it was considered unfashionable, and indeed very poor manners, to laugh out loud. But 18th century London relished its irreverence and the Questors’ new production stays true to its spirit by lampooning modern manners with a few irreverent anachronisms.
Scattered throughout the production are many comic touches that could send 18th Century purists into meltdown! But director Stuart Watson says the play’s first aim was always to elicit laughter: “She Stoops marked a deliberate break with the theatrical tradition of its time. Goldsmith’s aim was above all to write something funny, so there's no need to be precious about adding comic touches that resonate with a modern crowd.
"From scenery to props and music to subtle costume touches we’ve aimed to find ways to make the characters and events seem familiar to a modern audience. The words are all Goldsmith's, but some of the additions are happily 21st century. Today Tony Lumpkin would definitely spend his evenings in the pub watching football with his mates!"
Goldsmith's story remains: Marlow, a cocky young blade from London, pays a visit to Mr Hardcastle, an old friend of the family who lives in the country. His mission is to woo Hardcastle's daughter, but an encounter along the way with puckish country playboy Tony Lumpkin leads to Marlow falling victim to a practical joke.
But clever and vivacious Kate Hardcastle sees an opportunity to turn Marlow's misfortune to her advantage and hatches an ingenious plot to win herself a husband. And before Marlow and his companion Hastings are reconciled with the facts they are in for a long night of mistaken identities, chases and comic mayhem.
Premiered in 1773 Goldsmith's play was a ground-breaking departure from the syrupy "sentimental comedy" popular at the time. Few other plays of the period are performed nowadays, but the appeal of She Stoops has endured and a year rarely passes without a major revival eliciting joyous laughter from audiences.
The Questors company relishes the opportunity to play with such a timeless classic, so expect a riot of 18th century wit, wigs and music - and be prepared to spot the 21st century comic touches - in this colourful, high-energy production, suitable for all the family.
3rd June 2015