As someone not heavily exposed to romantic fiction in their lifetime, Pride & Prejudice is a novel I’m only vaguely familiar with at best. So, I can’t say for sure whether Pride & Prejudice* (*sort of) accurately follows Jane Austen’s storyline. What I can say for sure, however, is that writer Isobel McArthur has produced a show of utter hilarity that had me smiling from ear-to-ear throughout.
From the word go, the five-strong female cast had me completely charmed with their daft humour, and I never fell from under their spell, keeping me hugely entertained and laughing consistently to the end of the show.
Though the script was heavy on the gags, it also gave the supremely talented cast – Lucy Gray, Dannie Harris, Leah Jamieson, Emmy Stonelake, and Megan Louise Wilson – the opportunity to show off their singing and dancing ability, and the chance to wow us with their skills at playing various instruments, from guitar, piano and saxophone, to clarinet, accordion and even coconuts.
Between them, the actors multi-roled 19 different characters, with some lightning fast costume changes along the way. It was chaotic and frantic at times, but never once was it confusing which character they were portraying, such was their impressive ability to instantly inhabit a different persona and accent. Of the many characters, my favourite was Elizabeth Bennet who was given a much more contemporary, feminist edge as a straight-talking, acerbic wit, and gave the entitled men around her short shrift.
There was just so much to love with this one, from the renditions of hits from the likes of Carly Simon, Candi Staton and Pulp, the satirical nods to issues of class and bigotry that still exist today, and the numerous visual gags (look out for Mr Bennet).
They displayed a banner at the end of the show which read “If you liked it, tell someone”. There’s no danger of me keeping quiet about this one – it’s up there with the best shows I’ve seen over the last few years. Pride & Prejudice* (*sort of) continues at Norwich Theatre Royal until the 24th June – do not miss out.