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She Stoops To Conquer

Firstly, a bit of background: Mr Hardcastle, Mrs Hardcastle and their daughter Miss Hardcastle are the principal characters in this play....

Published on May 23rd 2006.

She Stoops To Conquer
Or The Mistakes of a Night

Firstly, a bit of background:

Mr Hardcastle, Mrs Hardcastle and their daughter Miss Hardcastle are the principal characters in this play.

Tony Lumpkin
is Mr Hardcastle’s son by a previous marriage. In addition to being idle and ignorant he is cunning and streetwise, and drinks continuously at the Three Jolly Pigeons. His mother has a thing about him.

Sir Charles Marlow has proposed a match between his son Young Marlow and Miss Hardcastle.

With it so far? But enough of this scene setting and on with the show.

The fun then begins. A riotous group of subsequent misunderstandings, misconceptions, deliberate deceit and a subsidiary love affair all contribute to frolics galore with an all’s well that ends well finale.

Goldsmith campaigned most of his short life against the then vogue for “sentimental comedy and the prejudice against laughter“. In this play his campaign reached its high point. The play enjoyed immense popular success and was seen as a great victory for those fighting the battle.

This is a wonderful production. The scene setting and the comedy are so well paced. The second half as funny as anything you will see this year. Braham Murray is a master of the directorial craft. He conducts the proceedings with great aplomb, finding creative and innovative ways of interpreting a play continuously in performance for over 200 years.

Alison Pargeter as Miss Kate Hardcastle gives an eye catching performance. Her coquettish
performance to woo and win Young Marlow is both convincing and winsome, serving to enhance her burgeoning reputation.

Celyn Jones is an excellent Tony Lumpkin. He plays a difficult role to perfection and adds considerably to the many pleasures of the evening.

The stand out joy (in every sense of that word), is the quite remarkable talent of Desmond Barrit as Hardcastle. A great classical actor, one of the handful currently worth a long detour to watch, his understated yet brilliant portrayal will be hard to surpass. His every moment on stage is a masterclass of the actor’s art.

I must now make an admission. Anybody uttering those wonderful early lines “I love everything that’s old; old friends, old manners, old books, old wine“ already has my vote anyway.

The rest of this talented cast join in with gusto to ensure that Goldsmith gets the laughter he was looking for in his play.

In his words of welcome in the programme Braham Murray asks his audience to “enjoy yourselves“. This production is all about pleasure, enjoyment, fun and laughter. A wonderful way to celebrate an exceptional 30 years.

Richard Burbage
Email Me

May 2006
At The Royal Exchange Theatre
Until Saturday 1st July 2006
Box Office 0161 833 9833 www.royalexchange.co.uk

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