Zounds! She Stoops to Conquer succeeds

Great performances overpower Talbot's poor acoustics

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

She Stoops to Conquer

She Stoops to Conquer
Directed by: Joanne Devereux
Starring: David Jeffrey, Randy Nanjad, Brandon Hicks, Rachael de Souza

4 stars

Those familiar with Talbot Theatre will agree the venue is cramped and archaic, but when it played host to the English department’s production of Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer last Saturday, its shortcomings were a good thing.

Talbot Theatre and its rustic construction created a charmed atmosphere, making one feel as if they were actually sitting in a humble 18th century playhouse. Kudos to the stage crew for its simple, effective set.

As for the production itself, She Stoops to Conquer is filled with mistaken identities, self-conscious play-acting and lots of sexually-explicit humour, as was the trend in Restoration comedies.

Veteran director Joanne Devereux did a remarkable job with her fourth English department production, harnessing the energy of her actors to craft a fantastic production.

Staying true to the nature of Restoration comedies, She Stoops to Conquer upheld traditional features; it wouldn’t have been a true English comedy if it did not lay into the French " which it did many times, much to the enjoyment of the audience.

The performances from the cast members were generally solid, which made the show a pleasure to watch. The cast took its roles seriously and put forth tremendous effort in recreating its characters.

Special mention goes out to David Jeffrey and Lorissa Sinasac’s brilliant performances as Mr. and Mrs. Hardcastle, as well as Randy Nanjad’s portrayal of Tony Lumpkin.

Despite the cast’s solid performances, there were a few minor issues.

At times, blocking became a nuisance. There were moments when characters that had finished speaking would take awkward positions that obstructed the audience’s view of the speaker.

There was also a mysterious clanging noise in the background, which was distracting.

Though they were rare, there were some instances where lines were recited with too much speed and too little conviction, making it difficult for those unfamiliar with Restoration comedies to grasp what was happening onstage.

On the other hand, the miserable acoustics of Talbot Theatre did not impact the clarity or coherence of the actors’ voices as imagined.

Overall, She Stoops to Conquer is an enjoyable experience and comes highly recommended to theatre buffs or anyone who takes pleasure in supporting the performing arts. Bravo.

She Stoops to Conquer runs Nov. 1-3 in Talbot Theatre at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5 in advance at the Talbot Theatre box office and $10 at the door.

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