Pride and Prejudice* sort of* @ Criterion Theatre*

Rating: 5/5
Link to tickets: https://www.criterion-theatre.co.uk/pride-and-prejudice-sort-of/?&eventid=7001
Booking until: April 2022
Run Time: 2hr 30

There have been countless adaptations of Jane Austen’s classic novel Pride and Prejudice. But I don’t think there will ever be an adaptation as loud or as witty as this one. Pride and Prejudice* (sort of)* is abridged version of the novel told by 5 of the servants at the Bennet household who portray and interchange as all the characters that you know and love. A rare gem in the west end, with all 5 principals making their west end debuts, I had an absolute blast at this brilliant production.

All five actresses in the production juggle this absolute beast of a show with such ease and in their performances it’s crystal clear how much fun they are all having. It’s also really great to see they all get their moments to shine, as I think the show could’ve so easily orbited around Elizabeth Bennett. While the five of them deliver wonderful performances between them all, I do have to mention book writer and co-director Isobel MacArthur’s performance as Darcy and Mrs Bennett. Two characters that are completely opposite and yet she manages to seamlessly transition between the two. Even down to Darcy’s eyebrow raise. If I wasn’t sat in the middle of the dress circle with a good view, I would’ve sworn she was two different actresses.

The book by Isobel MacArthur is filled to the brim with wit and doesn’t try to rewrite the story in any way. Although I couldn’t even finish reading Austen’s original novel, it is quite clearly stood the test of time. Otherwise, why would people continue to adapt it? Often I do think classic novels perhaps have a bit of a reputation of being quite stiff-upper lip. But not in this production. The humorous moments in the script are excellent but they really come alive in the direction (co-directed by Isobel MacArthur and Simon Harvey) and comedy staging by Jos Houben. Even being in the theatre, five minutes before the show starts to be precise, we’re instantly transported into the world that’s been created and the wild ride we’re about to go on. The grand set design by Ana Inés Jabares-Pita is exquisite and really widens the world of Pride and Prejudice, I really loved the attention to detail.

All in all, this really is a special show to be in the West End. I didn’t know anything about this going into it. To be honest, I thought it was a musical. But instead of a score, there are some absolute karaoke classics which seamlessly fit into the plot. This may not be your typical Pride and Prejudice adaptation. But, it’s a ruddy good one. Definitely one of my favourite shows of the year.

Until next time,

Hayley Sprout Logo (white cursive writing on a purple background)

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