She Stoops to Conquer, National Theatre Live (encore), Cinema City Norwich. April 2012
Having never seen any theatre from the 1700s by a strange quirk of timing I've ended up seeing two in three days thanks to the delights of the National Theatre Live programme.
Sadly this experience wasn't quite the joy that I found the Recruiting Officer to be, however similar the themes in both plays.
I'm not sure if She Stoops didn't quite hit the spot because it was at the cinema and thus I had to watch what the camera showed me or if it was because I found the size of the Olivier Stage created a barrier between the actors and the audience. In the intimate Donmar the knowing winks, nods and asides felt like they could have been aimed at me but knowing just how big the Olivier Theatre at the National is I never felt as much a part of the play as I was supposed to.
The acting in the play was very good, again not a dud amongst the main players and even though the play is well over 200 years old it did feel very accessible and funny. The elements of farce were well handled and just on the right side of cringe worthy. I did think at a few points that the male leads were channeling Black Adder the Third but it (just) worked wonderfully.
I do wonder if I'd seen this play first and The Recruiting Officer at the cinema I'd feel the same but I love the opportunity that National Theatre Live gives me to see more London plays and this was a very nice way to spend a Monday afternoon.