The Cultural Event of the Year.
… well, of July at least. Well, of July in Brighton, at least.
Yes, I refer, of course, to the Brighton Little Theatre’s long-awaited, forthcoming production of Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer.
When I say, long-awaited, I should perhaps add that no-one has been more eagerly awaiting next week’s opening night than me. We seem to have been rehearsing for ever!
She Stoops to Conquer was first performed in 1773, but, surprising, much of the humour still works today. It is a comedy of manners and mistaken identity and I play the part of Mr Hardcastle, a much put-upon, North country squire with a daughter to marry off, hopefully to the son of his wealthy friend, Sir Charles, thereby achieving the double aim of successfully marrying off a daughter and gaining access to a higher social circle at the same time. Mayhem and confusion ensues.
Much of the comedy comes from the interactions between Mrs Hardcastle, my wife, and her errant son, by her first marriage, Tony Lumpkin. The poor actor who plays Lumpkin is subjected to a level of physical abuse that would, in more modern times, attract the urgent attention of Social Services.
Subtle, it isn’t, but good knock-about comedy it certainly is, and given that the text is now 250 years old, it is still remarkably accessible.
After much misunderstanding and a good deal of social comment, all is happily resolved to the satisfaction of all concerned, particularly Mr Hardcastle and Sir Charles.
Production note: Apparently, in Georgian England, only sailors and army officers wore beards, certainly not country squires in the North of England. So mine had to be sacrificed on the altar of high art.
I look forward to its speedy return once the show is over! Shaving is such a pointless and futile activity!