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She Stoops to Conquer

Presented by Auckland Theatre Company
Auckland, New Zealand, 30 April - 23 May 2009
written by Oliver Goldsmith; directed by Michael Hurst


Miss Hardcastle
  Antonia Prebble  
  Michael Hurst
  Cameron Rhodes  
Set Design
  John Verryt
Mrs Hardcastle
  Ellie Smith  
Lighting Design
  Jeremy Fern
Tony Lumpkin
  Michael Whalley  
Costume Design
  Elizabeth Whiting
Miss Neville
  Esther Stephens  
Sound Design
  Eden Mulholland
Young Marlow
  Arthur Meek        
  Paul Ellis  
Diggory/landlord/Sir Charles Marlow
  Paul Barrett  
  Andrea Ariel *  
  Genevieve Cohen *  
*students from UNITEC School
of Performing and Screen Arts
  Bradley Johnson *  

From the Director

I played the role of Tony Lumpkin at the Court Theatre, Christchurch, in 1978.  Over thirty years ago.  It was a traditional production and I chiefly remember my performance being loud and energetic.  Sadly, as it often is with callow young players, I remember almost nothing else.

Coming to the play this year has been a delightful experience.  There is so much more to it than the larrikin tricks of Lumpkin, though that role is one of the most beloved in the English canon, and the wit and vivacity of the characters fairly crackles off the page.  We have had enormous fun in rehearsals, exploring the ideas that the script throws up in conjunction with, and sometimes in opposition to, our updated setting.



In the case of SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER, the humour more often than not transcends the milieu and our decision to bring the whole thing sometimes kicking (and once or twice screaming) into the modern era has in my view been vindicated by the clarity and hilarity we have been able to extract from the text, though I hasten to add that the mine of humour is well and truly present in the piece and that nothing could be extrapolated at all unless it were alaready there in the writing.

Here's to the Irish!

-Michael Hurst

Interviews and clips from the play.

Paul Barrett as Diggory

Paul Barrett as landlord; Michael Whalley as Tony Lumpkin

Cameron Rhodes as Hardcastle

Paul Ellis as Hastings

Esther Stephens as Miss Neville; Paul Ellis as Hastings

Arthur Meek as young Marlow

Esther Stephens as Miss Neville; Ellie Smith as Mrs. Hardcastle

Ellie Smith as Mrs. Hardcastle; Michael Whalley as Tony Lumpkin

Genevieve Cohen as Pimple; Antonia Prebble as Miss Hardcastle

Antonia Prebble as Miss Hardcastle

Arthur Meek as young Marlow;
Antonia Prebble as Miss Hardcastle

Antonia Prebble as Miss Hardcastle;
Cameron Rhodes as Hardcastle

Ellie Smith as Mrs. Hardcastle;
Cameron Rhodes as Hardcastle

Paul Barrett as Sir Charles Marlow;
Cameron Rhodes as Hardcastle

Michael Hurst's Favourite Words in the Play

assiduity:  constant or close attention to what one is doing; constant attentions to another person

assurance:  a positive declaration that a thing is true; a solemn promise of guarantee; insurance, especially life insurance; certainty; self-confidence; impudence

simplicity:  the fact or condition of being simple

cimcumbendibus:   roundabout course

impudence:  impudent--insolently disrespectful, impertinent; shamelessly presumptuous; unblushing

allurement:  attractiveness; personal charm; fascination

intrepidity:  fearlessness; bravery


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Reviews of She Stoops to Conquer

National Business Review"Hurst Conquers Stage Again:  The production is another triumph for Michael Hurst who has trimmed the play and given it contemporary relevance. . . . Hurst has given the actors a challenge as well. . . . but the actors are all up to it and create a splendid farce."

New Zealand Herald:  "Michael Hurst's high-spirited modernisation has a freshness and vitality . . . Michael Hurst's trademark theatricality is given a great outing."

theatreview:  "Some jokes never get old and the Auckland Theatre Company's production of She Stoops to Conquer gets the audience laughing as much as it must have done when it was first staged back in 1773. . . . She Stoops to Conquer is 100% pure entertainment, if you're up for a good night out with lots of laughs, then you'll love this one. "

National Radio:  "The miraculous thing about the production is that you forget that the dialogue is from the 1700's and you accept that these people are . . . in the 1950's.  . . . Thumbs up.  Well worth seeing.  We want to try and make the so-called classics of English drama sort of relevant and . . . Michael Hurst has achieved that really well."

Craccum: "Director Michael Hurst uproots the play from the bowels of the eighteenth century, flawlessly extracting the spirit of the action and placing it squarely in the year 1959.  . . .  The cast give strong performances in this fast-paced play, showcasing impeccable comic timing and maintaining a high level of energy throughout.  They wield the language expertly, breathing a modern air into their lines that gives their meaning new clarity.  . . . She Stoops to Conquer is brilliantly executed by cast and crew alike, and the perfect choice if you’re looking for an entertaining night out."