Pride and Prejudice
Matthew Kelly told me in a pre-show interview that this touring production is all about ‘spirit.’
He’s 100 per cent right. This is a very stylish, deftly delivered and high-spirited version from the 20 strong cast in Simon Reade’s joyful adaptation.
Jane Austen’s romantic novel is rightly regarded as a classic of English Literature. There haven been some fine and some dreary adaptations on stage and screen.
If only we hade versions like this one when I was at school, it would have inspired so many of us to dive into the back-catalogue of the literary greats.
This Regent’s Park Theatre, London production is one of the best you could ever hope to see – because it captures the spirit. Matthew hit the nail on the head.
Pride and Prejudice is very much alive and kicking as we approach Jane Austen’s bicentennial.
Director Deborah Bruce and set designer Max Jones ensure the audience can hear every word, see every facial expression and every signifcant gesture of body language.
The revolving set is magical – marvelous to look at and completed by a panoramic country screen backdrop – a nod ti the open air productions.
The characters weave in and out of scenes which are beautifully-paced throughout.
Austen was a gifted observer of people and this fine ensemble of actors – some making professional debuts on this tour – bring freshness to the work.
Mr and Mrs Bennet want their five daughters married off. Now that’s a tall order for any head of a family.
Weary Mr Bennet, played by Mr Kelly is splendid. Matthew makes it look so effortless but he is a master craftsman at work. It is a towering performance.
And his wife, the glorious Mrs B courtesy of Felicity Montague, is faultless in her energetic , multi-layered portrayal of a woman on the edge.
Felicity and Matthew are a wonderful pairng just as the vibrant Elizabeth, played by Tafline Steen and Benjamin Dilloway’s Mr Darcy are a master stroke of casting.
Each daughter has their own pesronality trait which is conveyed with real sparkle. This is just one element of the equisite comedy.
The play starts and ends with this telling quote: ”It is truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”
This period drama with its sumptuous costumes, elegant choreography, crystal clear storytelling and beautiful music sparkles from start to finish.
This is where I came in, too. That word ‘spirit’ really sums up this theatrical gem.