DELICIOUSLY ENGLISH COMEDY STANDS THE TEST OF TIME

A Theatre Review by Deena Kinarthy

She Stoops to Conquer, an 18th century ‘comedy of errors’ by Anglo-Irish playwright and novelist Oliver Goldsmith opened last Thursday night to a well-dressed, warmed crowd at the Langham Court theatre. Surprisingly, the language, wit, and humour of this 18th century play has stood the test of time, making it a deliciously English love story that transcends the class and social status of the era. Director Toshik Bukowiecki rightly chooses to set the play in the roaring 1920s England, a time of transition between the old ways and the new where young people could enjoy more independence from their traditional roles in society yet the class structure was still intact. Also a time where proper upbringing and manners still mattered, and gentleman properly courted young ladies. The dialogue was exemplary of classic British humour- rich with wit, proper in delivery. All the members of the cast achieved a tremendous feat with their English accents and ability to differentiate their dialects- from the upper class Queen’s English to the Rustic country dialect that the servants used to speak with. I’m impressed that the program does not make mention of any dialect coach, as the accents sounded quite authentic.

It might be said that in the comedy world, timing is everything, and in this production, the actors all kept pace with the fast-paced dialogue and timing and rhythm of the physical humour. Cast stand-outs were the mischievous Tony Lumpkin (played confidently and fittingly by Jordan Bell), the lovely Kate Hardcastle (played with refinement by Keeley Teuber). Teuber was able to seamlessly transcend the classes through her performance, as she switched between the aristocratic daughter, to pretending to be a humble barmaid. Mr. Charles Marlowe (played by Jason Vikse) had the perfectly awkward energy of a man who got tongue-tied in the presence of ladies, yet acted brashly in the company of servants.

Let’s not forget the beautiful sets (designed by Don Keith and Eric McWilliam) and brilliant lighting projections by Jason King. They worked beautifully together and were a work of art of their own. The projections complemented the set designs, such as the perfect green lit gardens and the moving horse-drawn carriage in the chase scene. I am always impressed by the elaborate and expert stagecraft including the period costumes at Langham Court Theatre, arguably some of the best homegrown production value in town.

All in all, if you enjoy British comedy, and can be charmed by a good love story, She Stoops to Conquer is worth it for a night out at the theatre. And for those of us on a budget, Tuesday nights the shows are 2 for $30, making theatre affordable and accessible.

For more information and for tickets visit
http://www.langhamtheatre.ca
Or call their box office 250-384-2142
Playing until June 25th.

she stoops to conquer promo

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