17 September 2014

She Stoops to Conquer at the Rose Theatre

I think that I studied She Stoops to Conquer at school but that may just be a false memory from a long time ago. For whatever reason, I had heard of the play and as it was on at my nearest, The Rose in Kingston, I felt obliged to see it.

I've been to The Rose often enough now to know how things work there so I booked myself a seat in Row A near the centre (A38), which cost me a reasonable £25. This is the first proper row though there was some hard seating in the lower Pit area between the stalls and the stage.

I had to be in Reading for work that day and, unfortunately, sever traffic hold-ups between the office and the railway station meant that I missed the hoped for trip to the Riverside Vegetaria before hand and I barely got to the theatre in time to grab a beer before claiming my seat.

She Stoops to Conquer is, essentially, a romcom, though age has also made the society of the time something of a feature too. This was a time when class was more obvious than it is now and, possibly, even more important.

The plot is pretty simple, which is fine for a romcom as the story (which you know has a happy ending) is much less important that the characters and the way that they fumble against each other until things work out.

Two gentlemen making a visit are tricked into thinking that another gentleman's house is a pub and they treat it, him and his family accordingly. One of the young gentlemen, whose if expected to marry a woman he does not want, falls for the daughter who he believes to be a barmaid and so too far below his class for him to have any serious intent in (frivolous intent is, of course, all right). She plays along with this error to win him from his intended, she stoops from her social class to conquer her man.

There are other relationships and other characters to add to the richness of the story and it is all a lot of fun.

Making the most of the fun on this occasion was Oliver Gomm as the tricked young gentleman. He was vigorous in his torment while the young girl was calm in contributing to it. Oliver Gomm may be at some risk of being type-cast as a period Upper Class Twit as he played a similar role very well in The School for Scheming at the Orange Tree earlier this year.

I went to see She Stoops to Conquer for some light relief and that's what I got. It was all very nicely done and the laughter flowed long and hard.

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