Northern Broadsides is a company I had not come across before. However I was completely won over by their performance of She Stoops to Conquer. I thought this was a really successful staging of this fun loving, comic masterpiece just as Oliver Goldsmith originally intended.
The over-dramatization of the characters, especially the animal print costumes and the use of a transvestite maid, shows the brilliant silliness that cannot simply be portrayed through the text alone. The multiple characterisations of the actors, such as the shy yet blundering Marlow who somehow manages by the end of the play to have engaged himself to Kate Hardcastle was really effective.
Likewise, Kate’s effortless transformation from the well educated daughter of Squire Hardcastle to the lower class barmaid clearly and comically accomplished laugh-out-loud moments from the audience: just the sort of ‘laughing comedy’ which Goldsmith was attempting to achieve.
The traditional characters of the fool, the hero and heroine, the mother and the characters of the sub plots were kept and played to perfection – especially Tony Lumpkin (pictured) who stole the show for most of the students!
Now I’m looking forward to ‘The White Devil’ at Stratford in November!