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Culture Theatre

Review: Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) is an absolute joy to watch. From beginning to end, the sensational retelling is clever, lively, and hilarious. My cheeks ached from constantly smiling and laughing. While still feeling fresh and modern, the musical celebrates Jane Austen in the best way possible. 

First of all, the multi-talented cast of five women continually amaze as the show progresses. With every impressively quick costume change, their theatrical prowess becomes increasingly clear. Indeed, male characters such as Charles Bingley, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Mr. Collins, and Mr. Wickham are all played by women. Almost magically, the show feels like a full production with a large, varied cast, and audience members will inevitably find themselves forgetting that Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) is a five-woman production.

The show is a conglomeration of the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries. The story remains faithful to the original, complete with period dresses and the pesky inheritance laws that make husband-hunting so vital, yet also includes delightful anachronistic touches: bottles of Irn Bru, Tesco shopping bags, and loud interjections of swear words. These comical details make the production accessible and familiar to the modern masses, somehow further endearing the audience to the motley crew of characters. The humorous scenes, such as Jane inelegantly riding a giant fake horse in the rain or a bellowing Bingley haphazardly emerging into the audience, are done with an attuned comic finesse. For those searching for a night out at the theatre where you can completely forget the woes of everyday life, the comedic brilliance of Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) is a potent remedy for a weary soul. 

Jane Bennet (Christina Gordon) sings into a microphone at a party surrounded by her mother, sisters, and Caroline Bingley

Furthermore, the musical scenes are delectable delights interspersed into the frivolity of the action. The actresses passionately sing classic songs such as Lady in Red, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, Holding Out for a Hero, and You’re So Vain. The women are undoubtedly expertly trained singers and I found myself wanting to get up and dance to the comical yet still impressively well executed musical interludes. For those who love karaoke, this show is a perfectly satisfying treat. 

Jane Bennet (Christina Gordon) and Mr. Bingley (Hannah Jarett-Scott) steal the show. The comedic earnestness of the duo feels pitch perfect. Other characters of note are Charlotte (also played by Hannah Jarett-Scott) and Mrs. Bennet (Isobel McArthur). My one and only complaint is that Elizabeth and Darcy, our main protagonists, are two of the most uninspired characters. They fail to come alive on stage with the zeal of Jane Bennet or Caroline Bingley. Elizabeth Bennet is given too many lines that make her seem annoying and prickly rather than witty. Darcy is simply a bit boring compared to the rest of the cast of characters. Still, as a whole, the cast is phenomenal. 

No further convincing should be needed to persuade Jane Austen fans to see Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of). The five-woman show is a female triumph and resounding success. Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) delivers a night of uplifting gaiety and laughter. Audience members will leave the theatre with a renewed belief in the power of music, as well as the power of true love.

Royal Lyceum Theatre, 18th October – 6th November 2022, 14:30/19:30

Images photographed by Matt Crockett, provided to The Student via Press Release