She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith

She Stoops to ConquerRating:

If you’ve never read or seen a comedy of errors or farcical play like those of William Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde, then you might find this more entertaining than I did.

Having studied Wilde’s slightly more modern The Importance of Being Earnest in great detail as a teenager and later watching An Ideal Husband, you come to realise this genre is little more than a one-trick pony; if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Besides minimal alterations in events, only the cast and the production values change from play to play, from performance to performance. Originality is harder to come by in these older and somewhat old fashioned, and perhaps less sophisticated, plays. Wilde managed to stand out from the crowd with his tricky witticisms and absurdities. She Stoops to Conquers possesses nothing so unique, as far as I can tell.

The repetitive nature of this sort of play’s light humour devices such as the use of puns, wordplay, slapstick and the heavily relied upon mistaken identity trope (which is used here), concluding with the inevitable romantic happy ever after enacted by genteel, upper class main characters making satirical references to gender and class politics before falling in love at the drop of a hat (sometimes literally), tend to leave me a little bored of the predictability while only evoking a chuckle or two at most.

Also repetitive was the use of the word ‘impudent’. Unfortunately this was written pre-thesaurus so I’ll have to forgive Goldsmith’s overuse since he didn’t have easy access to synonyms like we do today.

Honestly, the skillful audio portrayal of She Stoops to Conquer by the distinct voices of a full cast, especially Spike James Marsters, is solely responsible for capturing and maintaining my attention throughout. I imagined Mr. Marsters in his Buffy persona’s pre-vampire days as a less feeble version of the English gentleman William Pratt. You’d never know he’s 100% American from his superb upper crust and unrefined British accents. Twice my age and yet I still perk up at the sound of his voice. *smiles*

*Downloaded for free during Audiobook Sync’s 2013 annual summer event.

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