It appears that nothing inspires Nicholas Martin’s creativity more than a cherished theatrical chestnut. Last year he staged a fresh but honest Our Town, and this Summer, it is the 238-year-old Oliver Goldsmith play, She Stoops to Conquer. The first warmed our hearts, the latter tickles our ribs.
Gathering his family of actors around him, Martin has brought this romantic comedy of manners in the Eighteenth Century to a brilliant sheen, with more laughs than I have ever heard this play inspire in the past. He has raised it to the level of farce and satire. Yet it has a literary and theatrical fidelity that maintains its place as a classic piece of theatre. It is all the foregoing in one exquisite evening of theatre.
This is the kind of play that is a perfect fit for Williamstown: sophisticated and witty, but not at all dry. She Stoops to Conquer has a large cast of sixteen who engage in a wild weekend of manipulation and matchmaking. It all revolves around the daughter of the Hardcastles, (Mia Barron) being proffered for a marriage to Charles, the son of the Marlows (Jon Patrick Walker).