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There’s lots of uninhibited fun and games going on in the Hardcastle household thanks to prankster Tony Lumpkin’s irresponsible interventions in Oliver Goldsmith’s sprightly 1773 satirical comedy. With a chorus of singing servants, Jamie Lloyd’s rambunctious revival adds a generous dash of 21st century liberation as (under orders from his father), man about town Marlow comes a-wooing and is tricked into believing that his host’s home is the local inn. Brazen in common company but cripplingly tongue-tied in the presence of women of his own class, Harry Hadden-Paton’s Marlow averts his eyes from his intended (Corrie’s Katherine Kelly), yet is ready to ravish her when she disguises herself as a flirty barmaid.

David Fynn proves a rather likeable Lumpkin (despite his gross personal habits), Sophie Thompson milks every syllable for laughs as the rustic Mrs Hardcastle with social aspirations, and John Heffernan, with a more subtle approach as Marlow’s foppish sidekick Hastings, confirms that he’s definitely a name to watch.

Olivier at the National, South Bank, SE1 9PX
Tube: Waterloo
in rep until 21st April
£12 - £45
nationaltheatre.org.uk

- Louise Kingsley


Talkback


She Stoops to Conquer, Olivier - theatre review
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