She Stoops to Conquer
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Stephen Underwood

If youíre looking for a purely enjoyable comedy, She Stoops to Conquer, now playing at Marin Shakespeare Theatre in San Rafael, is just the ticket. The play, written by the Irish writer Oliver Goldsmith, is such a delightful story that it has been in production somewhere in the world since it first opened in Covent Garden on May 15, 1773.

It is in essence a comedy of errors as is suggested by its original title The Mistakes of a Night. The story starts from a misunderstanding where an extremely shy Young Marlow (Darren Bridgett) goes to visit the Hardcastles, friends of his father, because a match has been proposed between Marlow and Kate Hardcastle (Deborah Fink). But as Marlow tells his friend Hastings (Paul Sulzman), heís not looking forward to the meeting. It seems Marlow has no trouble getting along with barmaids and other women of more common stature, but literally falls apart at the seams when he meets a woman thatís his equal. But through the antics of Mrs. Hardcastleís (Phoebe Moyer) booby son Tony (Jonathan Gonzalez), Marlow is led to believe that the Hardcastleís home is actually an Inn and Kate a common maid.

This comedy is full of fun, but what makes this production so thoroughly entertaining is itís fantastic playful cast. No one could perform the shy Marlow better than Darren Bridgett. His stumbling and falling antics when confronted by the fair Kate will bring tears of laughter to your eyes. Paul Sulzman makes quite a dandy as the overly refined Hastings. Jonathan Gonzalez as the bad boy Tony Lumpkin is unforgettable, especially his hair. Star of stage and screen, George Maguire (Fight Club, Nash Bridges) is a joy to watch as the flustered Mr. Hardcastle, Deborah Fink is simply lovely as both a maid and the fair Kate, and Phoebe Moyerís (Mrs. Hardcastle) feathered hairdo alone is worth the price of admission.

For tickets or more information call (415) 499-4488 or visit www.marinshakespeare.org.

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