STAGE REVIEW: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE* (*SORT OF) @ Northern Stage, Newcastle (02.10.19) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Hannah Jarrett-Scott, Christina Gordon, Tori Burgess – photography by Mihaela Bodlovic, Tron Theatre 2018

Pride And Prejudice* (*sort of) is at Northern Stage, Newcastle until Saturday 12th October

Rapturous applause. Thoroughly deserved. Isobel McArthur’s joyous adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice had been a delight. Would Austen have enjoyed this telling of her story? Maybe, like me, she would have been as thrilled by the wordless glances, expressions and gestures (the comedic timing was spot on) as her words themselves.

In Pride And Prejudice* (*sort of), six multi-talented women each took on multiple characters to retell Miss Austen’s literary classic with evident respect and mischievous, irreverent fun in equal measure. There was music (loved the live instruments), song (plenty of heart-warming karaoke moments), dance (would have liked to have seen more because the choreography and execution of movement were fab) and loads of laughter.

A sweeping staircase dominated the stage, creating that sense of upstairs/downstairs (alongside the contrast between the basic white maids’ uniforms and more colourful, elaborate costumes of the gentry) and providing ample opportunity for diverse viewpoints and perspectives. The set, the props, the quick changes, the lighting…all this mindful creativity paid off for sure.

While the second half sometimes lacked the high-energy, fast-paced, whirlwind of glee from before the interval and became as intense and serious as Mr Darcy himself on occasion, flashes of brilliance, bursts of hilarity and an exuberant finale left the audience elated and in love with Austen all over again.

 

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