Friday, 30 September 2016

She Stoops to Conquer, Canberra Rep

Old-fashioned laughs a-plenty are on offer in Rep's latest offering, an almost-250-year old comedy that proves that sometimes, there's no joke like an old joke. A tale of romance and confusion, it's energetically played shenanigans that offers big giggles, a little wisdom, some nice frocks and a happy ending.

The title role of the she-who-is-stooping-to-conquer is Zoe Priest, showing a nice charming wit, charm and a whole lot of stage presence. He-who-is-conquered-via-stooping is George Pulley, who covers off the requirements of being handsome, amiably dim-witted, and enjoyable sympathetic. As the monstrous mother, Elaine Noon is grandly gorgon-esque, managing a performance that matches her quite astounding wig in size and grandness. Lord of misrule for the evening is Adam Salter, being appropriately impudent, silly and just-on-the-right-side-of-annoying. Jonathan Pearson gets a solid evening of exasperated confusion in as the regularly bewildered Mr Hardcastle, and Tieg Sadhana and Kate Harris are appropriately romantic and silly as the secondary-couple whose quest to escape with both jewelry and each other makes up the rest of the plot. There's a supporting cast of various supernumerary servants who frequently serve as almost an on-stage-audience to the action, albeit a slightly cruder and sillier audience than the fine folks who are watching the show,

Cate Clelland's set is-simple-but-stylish in its effect, painted as black and white line drawings, while Anna Senior's costumes are a nicely contrasting riot of colour and ostentation.

Simple in its pleasures, "She Stoops" is a fun frolic of a show and worthy of a watch.

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