She Stoops to Conquer
Paul Johnson | 05 Jun 2015 22:10pm
Oh lucky, lucky Ealing. To have this facility and this amazing breadth of theatre presented, should have audiences filling the auditorium to bursting point. If you have not been, go and go soon, make an afternoon and evening of it, go shopping two streets away and then get to this magic space and visit the Qafe for a sandwich and light refreshment or the award-winning Grapevine Bar for a stronger tipple. This has to be one of the very best theatres I have ever been in. It rivals any of the London theatres in terms of space, experience, facilities and pure value for money. Why anyone living in Ealing would need to go to London to see a show is beyond me. The front of House team was very welcoming and very professional. I could continue to rave about the lighting rig, the sound deck, backstage facilities, informative programme etc. etc. but I went to review a play.
To coin a rather overused Saturday-night entertainment phrase, “I didn’t like it… I absolutely loved it” Please use it on any forthcoming advertising material, happy to be quoted. This intelligent and beautifully put together production had this reviewer smiling all the way home to Bromley.
Where to begin?.. with an apology to the cast and crew, I was late and missed a good 25 minutes of the first act, but as soon as I had taken my seat I could immediately sense, care and joy by the actors in delivering this historically important play in a simple, uncluttered manner. The set, costumes, lighting and brilliant musical interludes all contributed to this in a well balanced and clever way that never detracted from the performances but merely enhanced them.
It was very obvious that Director Stuart Watson and his production team had thought through exactly how to present this very challenging and at times linguistically tortuous 18th century classic. It showed that, what really needed to be observed here was the story and the language and together with a brilliant ensemble cast, they not only achieved it, but surpassed themselves.
A thought occurred to me, as the innuendoes abounded (I thought an’ innuendo’ was an Italian suppository) and the mistaken identities pushed the bounds of reality, was this writing by Goldsmith, the real beginnings of even our Carry On films and indeed fore runner to that Golden age of British comedy such as The Goons Round the Horn, Hancock’s half hour, The Navy Lark and indeed Monty Python? albeit 200 years earlier. It was clear to me, that here in this risqué play of its time, was the start of our unique and quintessential British theatrical sense of humour. The reason this occurred to me was the outstanding actors and their delivery of lines and truth to characters, no ego’s here, no over-egging the plot, just plain delivery of what is on the page.
This production tours down to the beautiful Cornish, Minack Theatre in June and I am certain it will blow them away. (let’s hope the weather doesn’t do the same!)
I can’t remember a production that I have seen, where I do not need to praise or criticise an individual actor’s performance, you were all excellent. The casting was inspired and I loved every character and I have to mention the ensemble of Nina Flitman, Francesca McInally and the beautifully frocked Christian Search who makes a very attractive, wench/maid/or any other character required, all of them lifted this production.
Questors, be proud, be very proud, Ealing be happy, nay ecstatic, that you have such a brilliant, dedicated group of people keeping theatre Alive and very much kicking.
- : admin
- : 30/03/2015