THE BASICS: NOBODY’S INN, a musical based on Oliver Goldsmith’s SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER, with book, lyrics, and music by Grant Golden, presented by Western Door Playhouse, directed by Sharon Priest in the Woodbox Theater, opened at the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center, 1201 Pine Ave. at Portage Road 14301 (297-5910). The theater is on the third floor (elevator provided) of the old Niagara Falls High School. Enter through the handicapped accessible red doors which face Portage Road. Oct 9-25, Fri & Sat at 8, Sun at 2:30. Run time about 2 hours with one 15 minute intermission.
THUMBNAIL SKETCH: A well-meaning, but slightly dotty, country land owner, Mr. Hardcastle, invites the well-bred young Charles Marlowe to his estate, in hopes of a marriage to beloved daughter Kate. On the way, Marlowe stops at an ale house to ask directions, and is tricked by Hardcastle’s indolent son-in-law into thinking that the manor house is only an inn, and that the landed gentry there are simply the inn-keeper and his wife. Hence the pun in the title “Nobody’s Inn.”
It further develops that Marlowe is tongue-tied around young women of his own social class, but is very eloquent with serving girls. So, to woo him, Kate disguises herself as a servant, and “stoops to conquer” her beau. There are several sub-plots and it is an ensemble musical, with everyone getting at least one song. The original 1773 play by Oliver Goldsmith has never gone out of fashion. In fact, it was offered this summer at the prestigious Stratford Festival.
One of the realities of small theater companies is that everyone has “a day job.” And, as it turned out, because one of the principal actresses was being honored the previous evening at her school as “teacher of the year,” the dress rehearsal had been cancelled. So, in fact, opening night turned out to be the de-facto dress rehearsal. Therefore it would be unfair to review the performance.
I can say that the theater itself is well designed, with raked seats and surprisingly very comfortable ones at that. The building is handicapped accessible with a ramp up to the front door and an elevator inside. A compliment to Linda Silvestri who handles ticketing and actually returns her calls! This is not common practice at smaller theaters, I have found.
As noted above, the musical continues to October 25, and now that the cast has had a chance to shake out the kinks, it will only improve.