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The Hostess of the Inn

Published Friday 21 November 2008 at 11:10 by Sally Stott

This new translation of the 18th-century comedy La Locandiera, by Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni, is brought to life by the sheer exuberance and vitality of the cast. Their impassioned performances clearly come from a strong affinity for the work and are a delight to behold.

The story revolves around scheming seductress and innkeeper, Mirandolina (Elizabeth Keates) and her attempts to win over a self-proclaimed woman hater, the Knight of Ripafratta (Maurice Byrne), who is staying in the inn. Meanwhile, the gloriously camp, penny-pinching Count of Albafiorita (Alex Barclay) and the Marquess of Forlipopoli (Edward Kingham), a nouveau riche fop, compete for her affections.

From a modern day perspective, the notion of women as flirts and men as simpletons can seem a little archaic and the play has lost some of its relevance over time. But while its themes echo those of The Taming of the Shrew, it’s also possible to see Goldoni’s influence on latter day farce.

Katherine Gregor’s translation captures Goldoni’s fresh simplicity and lightness, but the language can shift oddly between historical and contemporary idioms. Most commendable are Andrea Hooyman’s direction, which is energetic and physical, and the cast, who embrace their roles with aplomb and provide a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Production information

Lion & Unicorn, London, November 18-December 14

Carlo Goldoni, in a new version by Katherine Gregor
Andrea Hooymans
Giant Olive
Cast includes:
Elizabeth Keates, Maurice Byrne, Alex Barclay, Edward Kingham, Paul Bryant, Jill Stanford, Clare Wallis, Tim Pritchett
Running time:
2hrs 30mins

Production information displayed was believed correct at time of review. Information may change over the run of the show.

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Run sheet

King's Head, Islington London
January 24-February 15 2014