She Stoops To Conquer
David Rowbotham's Review
Anglo-Irish Oliver Goldsmith's 18th Century comedy She Stoops To Conquer is one of the most human plays ever written. La Boite Theatre is producing it like the classic it is. Director Graeme Johnston has assembled a strong cast, and designed a set that solidly creates the impression of an English country house, where the action occurs.
Impishly misled by Graeme Hattrick's Tony Lumpkin, the two young gentlemen from London believe the house is an inn, and that its owner Mr. Hardcastle (Gus Guthrie) is a mere innkeeper. The fun begins. The humour of the whole play is based on such mistakes, not only about places, but about people's identities. The two courting gentlemen from London are played by David Lees as Hastings, and Paul Haseler as young Marlow. The country ladies to be courted are Peta Gottschalk as Kate, and Christine Hoepper, as Constance. These four actors move, in the first act, as if in a quadrille.
There is good order, there is pattern, in the production. I had no need to wait till the final nice little charade about the family jewels, and the characters' final quick-farce run-around. Mr. Johnston strikes so immediately on target with this production that there is never any doubt about its success.
Mr. Guthrie's Hardcastle, and Eileen Beatson's Mrs. Hardcastle, are spot-on portrayals. Mr. Hattrick's Lumpkin soon assumes the role of the busy conniver. There is not a single character who can be disliked; and this was Goldsmith's great achievement, besides the wryness of his dialogue.
It is a play, and a production of style. The costumes are excellent. The lighting is cleverly handled, and the pace is just right. There were many students in the audience r last night, all enjoying the show. The show can be enjoyed equally by people whose student days are long behind them.
The Courier Mail, March 16 1978