pride and prejudice*(*sort of)…

On a day when UK politics seemed to have sunk to an all-time low and with the rest of the world regarding us as a laughing stock, it was good to be able to leave our depressing world and enter into the magical, joyful world of British theatre… At least there’s SOMETHING about which we can be proud.
Moira and I went along to the Old Vic last night to see “Pride and Prejudice*(*sort of) – director: Paul Brotherston, writer: Isobel McArthur (who’s also one of the actors), designer: Ana Ines Jabares-Pita. It’s an adaptation of the Jane Austin book, but told by servants - using music and an all-female cast (in all the roles) - and all the time, remarkably, keeping very much to the original story…
Oh, and it’s quite, quite brilliant.
In essence, it’s a sweary, immaculately choreographed, fast-moving, very funny, wonderfully clever, hugely entertaining, karaoke version of a well-loved, classic, English novel (as you do). The cast are all simply wonderful… ALL of them (Tori Burgess, Christina Gordon, Felixe Forde, Hannah Jarrett-Scott, Isobel McArthur and Meghan Tyler). Incredibly versatile (complete with rapid costume changes) and also gifted singers and musicians (on harp, trumpet, accordion and piano). Watching Hannah Jarrett-Scott ‘in action’ was utterly compelling (this might not sound as flattering as I want it to be, but she was like a younger, much more attractive version of Patricia Routledge… timing, facial expressions and genius acting ability). Incidentally, Mr Bennet was played (silently) by an armchair – slightly angled away from the audience (and ‘holding’ a newspaper).

The confidence of the actors and their clear enjoyment of what they were doing was utterly infectious… and the audience lapped it up. At times, the production verged on becoming a musical (in a good way) and, as performers began their karaoke version of a song (I’m afraid I can’t remember many of the titles, but they certainly included “You’re So Vain”, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?”, “I Got You Babe” and “Lady In Red”), the audience frequently giggled, cooed and applauded in delighted appreciation of its aptness for particular scenes. It was all very clever, very funny… and seamless (and the actors duly ‘milked’ the audience’s response… which was entertaining in itself).
Theatre and live performance at its VERY best… and yet another brilliant show at Bristol’s Old Vic.
We’re very, very blessed.

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