Nope, I’ve never read P&P.
I’ve never seen any of the movies or the TV adaptations – the nearest I ever got to it was Bridget Jones.
I wouldn’t know my Heathcliffe from my Jimmy Cliff.
And I’ve never read any Jane Austen in my puff – in fact I don’t even know who the bloke is.
But I read the Wikipedia synopsis (a good tip before seeing any period drama IMHO) on the way to the theatre.
I needn’t have bothered, because the storytelling in this truly wonderful production is first rate. I could have gone in colder than a monkey in a Walls factory and still emerged off pat with the storyline.
The cast of many characters (and referenced participants) is significant, and yet you’ll not miss a beat in this rip-roaring triumph of comedy theatre.
The six actors, all female, play 21 different characters plus, let’s call it five, assorted house maids, a total of 26 roles, making an average of 4.33 characters per actor.
That’s a new character for every 5 minutes 45 seconds of run time. And yet at no point do we lose track of who is who and what is what in this runaway train of a tale.
It’s bawdy, it’s musical, it’s completely hilarious.
The crowd cheered, booed, clapped and rose as one in adulation as the curtain fell at just before 10.30 pm tonight.
The reason for this? Tori Burgess, Felixe Forde, Christina Gordon and in particular Hannah Jarrett-Scott, Isobel McArthur (the writer) and Meghan Tyler (also a writer – of Fringe First winning Crocodile Fever).
The directing, by Paul Brotherston is miraculous.
We’re treated to Londoners, Scots, Yorkshiremen and women and full-on Northern Oirish characters in a melange of Babelic proportions.
And yet, it all holds together, melds and synergistically builds into a thing so beautifully nuanced, so gut-wrenchingly funny that you wonder how it ever came about. And still the story remains true and comes through.
Lovers of P&P will have no issue with this translation.
The all-female cast not only allows us a bit of fun with cross-dressing and assumed voices, but also a bit of cheeky girl meets girl, girl is smitten by girl innuendo.
The laugh out loud moments in this are countless. Five in the first minute alone thanks to Hannah Jarrett-Scott’s complete ownership of her four main characters and her role as narrator in chief.
It’s brilliant. Just brilliant. See it.