It is a truth universally acknowledged that we adore Jane Austen’s iconic love story!
Pride and Prejudice* (*Sort of) is an irreverent adaptation heading to Norwich Theatre Royal between 19 – 24 June. The show combines the Jane Austen classic with the pomp of Bridgeton and a modern comedy that sees the story audaciously retold.
It is a love letter to the novel, in which five fantastic women portray different characters with a simple outfit change. The ladies breathe new life into the characters with the story told from the point of view of the servants, as the housemaids act out all the events as they take place.
The play’s author Isobel McArthur commented: “It’s a run-away train for the performers! There are 119 named characters in the original Pride and Prejudice. We have reduced this to an essential 18 in our production – played by just five actors. Lightning-fast costume changes are required from the cast throughout. They also play the instruments, sing the songs and perform all the scene changes.”
However, the play stays largely faithful to the plot of the novel. Expect the feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet to meet her match with the snobbish and cold Mr Darcy, the slimy Mr Thomas and the infamous Lady Catherine de Bourgh!
The show won Best Comedy or Entertainment Play at the 2022 Olivier Awards, so enjoy Austen’s wit on the absurdity of the period’s dating scene with the addition of gags and slapstick that will have you laughing out loud!
Speaking about the humour in the novel when she first read the book Isobel said: ”I assumed it would be starchy, unrelatable stuff – all red-nosed dukes and drawing rooms. How wrong I was. Opening at page one, I started laughing. I knew instantly that in this book were a set of observations and a cast of characters that needed to be shared with as many people as possible.”
In contrast to what the regency gowns might suggest, the ladies use microphones and a jam-packed repertoire of modern pop songs to drive the narrative. Including You’re So Vain, Bonnie Tyler’s I Need a Hero and disco classic Young Hearts Run Free.
It’s the 1800s. It’s party time. Let the ruthless matchmaking begin.