Oliver Goldsmith’s 1773 hit is one of those comedies whose meaning lies not in any message but in the neatness with which it is unspools, tangles, and then comes right again. It is the ancestor of the painstakingly constructed trifles of Wodehouse.
The ISC’s production, which ended last night, had the key to this. They of course had a ball with the silliness. Bernadette Sullivan obviously relished the chance to play Mrs. Hardcastle, a character whose job consists of wearing towering headdresses and being ridiculous at top volume. But they also kept things under control, so that they mayhem never crossed into chaos.
It was a happy evening, wiping out the memory of their not very good Macbeth. But then they’re always at their best in comedy.
I particularly loved how between the scenes of this comedy from the Seventeen-seventies they blasted Glam Rock hits from the Nineteen-seventies.