by Jane Austen
adapted by Joannah Tincey.
5 Stars *****
Jermyn Street Theatre, 16b Jermyn Street, London SW1X 6ST to 21 December.
Tues-Sat 7.30 pm. Mat Sat & Sun 3.30pm. Extra matinees – 4, 8 & 13 December.
Runs 2hr 35 mins. One interval.
TICKETS: 020 7287 2875.
Review: William Russell 1 December.
Pride, prejudice, pleasure and perfection.
Skillfully adapted by Joannah Tincey and perfectly performed by the cast of two if this is not quite simply the best night out in the run up to Christmas in the West End then I will do the full Colin Firth. Jane Austen’s best loved novel has been turned into delightful theatrical entertainment and the players, Joanna Tincey and Nick Underwood, with a flick of the hair, a change of scarf, the addition of a hat, or the transformation of a top coat into a dress by swirling a flap of cloth, work wonders in creating the different characters of the novel in a trice.
She is a gloriously selfish Lydia, a suitably priggish and obstinate Elizabeth, a magnificently vulgar Mrs Bennett and a thoroughly decent Mr Bingley. He is a suitably conceited and pompous D’Arcy, a dreadfully shifty and glamorous Wickham, a modest, self deprecating Jane and, with the aid of a cane and a raised eyebrow, an impossibly grand Lady Catherine de Burgh.
The characters of the novel live and the actors display an impressive control of their art as they achieve this. Director Abigail Anderson has handled play and players with suck skill that the pace never slackens.
Dora Schweitzer has designed an extremely elegant set – a pillar, a window frame, a chair or two, and mantelpiece, all skilfully placed so that the necessities of change are to hand and we can move from the Bennett home to London or D’Arcy’s home in a flash. Part of the enjoyment is watching one actor walk off, possible round behind that pillar, as one person and emerging as another.
Tincey has used Austen’s dialogue, sometimes for conversations, sometimes for Elizabeth to directly address the audience, very effectively so that when all the complications have been resolved and the mating games played, lost or won, we can at least rejoice in the fact the Elizabeth got her D’Arcy and both learned a thing or two in the process. This production and these performances are a match for any of those celebrated television , wet shirts and all, nd it is impossible to imagine it better done.
Director. Abigail Anderson.
Set & Costume Designer: Dora Schweitzer.
Lighting Designer: Simon Wilkinson.
Sound Designer: Mark Melville.
Composers: Mark Melville & Shannon Whiteside.