Pride and Prejudice (sort of)
Chichester Festival Theatre
Currently playing at Chichester Festival Theatre is the unique, richly entertaining re-telling of Jane Austen’s iconic novel Pride and Prejudice, as you’ve never seen it before! Despite countless previous and successful adaptations both for TV and the stage, this production has a real light-hearted freshness and energy to it. Beginning life as an instant success at The Tron theatre Glasgow, Isobel McArthur’s brilliant adaption went on to triumph in the West End and subsequently embark on a highly successful UK tour.
The all-female cast begin off stage amongst the audience and when a bell is rung congregate on stage for the start of the show. Dressed as servants in full-length white dresses + Marigold gloves and Doc Marten boots they act out the gossip of the well-known characters from Austen’s classic tale of love, manners and the harsh realities for women in the 1800’s (especially those without a husband). The strong, vibrant performers bring the tale gloriously to life with impeccable comic timing, superfast costume changes and witty exchanges all punctuated with snatches of various appropriate pop songs from Lady in Red to Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.
This charming, irreverent and expertly crafted immersive theatre is shot through with colourful language and a joyously energetic versatility from every member of the cast. However, both Dannie Harris and Ruth Brotherton give outstanding contributions, Harris in particular for playing both the hypochondriac Mrs Bennet and pompous Mr Darcy. Leah Jamieson too for her entertaining portrayal of Mr Collins. Co Director Simon Harvey’s (alongside Isobel McArthur) long association with Kneehigh shines through and directly compliments the award-winning writing talent of Isobel McArthur.
McArthur believes Pride and Prejudice is for everyone which is certainly proved by this thoroughly impressive, innovative and entertaining insight into the rigid dilemmas faced by women in Regency England.
Reviewer: Jill Lawrie