She Stoops to conquer.

RESTORATION drama. Not my usual cup of tea I have to admit, even when told it is so good it has been performed regularly since it was written. Armed with caffeinated beverages and definitely one of the youngest members of the ageing audience I was prepared to have to keep my eyes propped open.

I was, then, pleasantly surprised to find myself laughing along with the rest of the audience within the first five minutes. I had thought the play would have been hard to understand due to the Georgian setting but the director Lindsey Posner's decision to update the feel of the play to the late 20's/early 30's made it almost Downton Abbey-ish, and that's a programme which I love. This definitely made the play feel much more modern and altogether easier to understand and enjoy.

The standout performance for me was from Michael Pennington, who played Mr Hardcastle, the doting and anecdotal father - perhaps because some of his behaviours, such as his irritation at his extremely overbearing and high pitched wife (Anita Dobson) and his refusal to let his daughter have anyone but the best reminded me of someone.

Tony Lumpkin, the idiotic stepson was brilliantly portrayed by Harry Michell, and as professional stage debuts go I thought he was excellent. Who can resist a man who can pull off performing "Do your balls hang low...." while still appearing suave and loveable?

The clever set design allowed the story to flow and I was impressed by the amount of detail included in the set, as were fellow audience members, from their supposedly low murmurs. For me this play was dominated by the excellent male characters, I found the female cast members came across as over-acting and stilted. They were however good performances from all the cast.

So, would I go to see a piece of restoration drama again? I’d have to say that as long as it was a comedy that I think I would.