The '*sort of' in the title may send a shiver down the spine of Austen stalwarts who fear her classic tale has been adapted beyond recognition. But, fear not, the story is faithfully told with an injection of wit, musicianship and singing in a production that proves the six actors from Blood of the Young undoubtedly have funny-bones.
Writer Isobel McArthur has crafted a theatrical experience that retells Austen’s original – at least one of five daughters of the Bennett family must find a husband so they can inherit the family money - with more than a nod to the author’s own boldness of spirit. But, this production has a vibrancy that combines 18th century mores and storytelling with 21st century irreverence.
A clever sprinkling of music does not make this a musical, however, the adroit interjection of versions of ‘Every day I Write the Book”, ‘I Think I Love You’ and ‘You’re So Vain’ (aimed at Mr Darcy of course) and more, cleverly extend the narrative into musical form in a way which is both seamless and hilarious.
McArthur’s writing allows for suitable directness (these Bennet daughters swear like troupers) and Paul Brotherston’s clever direction allows each performer to shine as they change costume and segue seamlessly from female to male, Bennet daughter to servant to re-create characters from Austen’s original. As Elizabeth, Meghan Tyler plays the good-natured impertinence of Austen’s original character with a sardonic edge; Hannah Jarrett-Scott is deliciously disagreeable as Charlotte Bingley and is a masterfully comedic buffoon as Mr Bingley; McArthur is faultless as the neurotic Mrs Bennet and the inscrutable Mr Darcy.
Director Paul Brotherston has created a sharp, fresh version of this classic which is undoubtedly an homage to the original. It’s a story about love and it’s clear that this company – onstage and backstage – are sharing their love for Pride and Prejudice with singular dedication.
Expect confetti, karaoke, trumpets, a horse and a dustbin. Expect performances that breathe new life into characters you think you know. Expect to laugh - a lot. And, be prepared to see Pride and Prejudice in a way that you have never seen it before – or learn to love it for the first time!
Whether you are an Austen devotee or have never read a word – see this show; it’s an unforgettable night at the theatre.