Pride and Prejudice review at Jermyn Street Theatre, London – ‘thoroughly charming’
There is a real sense of condensed energy in Two Bit Classics’ take on Jane Austen’s much loved Pride and Prejudice. Regularly touring since 2013, the production reworks the classic novel as a two-hander, but remains impressively faithful, with performers Nick Underwood and Joannah Tincey playing more than 20 characters between them.
Underwood attacks his roles – particularly the cross-cast parts – with obvious relish and a distinct comic flair. His roguish Wickham tosses his hair and smirks invitingly, while his depiction of younger Bennet sister Kitty – announcing herself with an insistent cough – stays just on the right side of ludicrous.
Joannah Tincey – who also authored this adaptation – has a more subtle style, but her characterisations are incisive. As Lady Catherine she is as icy as you would expect, but also brittle. As Elizabeth, she deftly balances warmth, wit, and not a few flashes of pride.
Director Abigail Anderson keeps them sweeping and pirouetting about the stage, timing the countless switches between characters to coincide with dance steps or expansive gestures. Designed by Dora Schweitzer, the costumes likewise facilitate these transitions, featuring adjustable panels and hidden pockets concealing props. Her set is similarly dynamic – an exploded drawing room with asymmetrically-skewed windows and a sloping mantelpiece.
The show’s most striking feature, though, is its humour. Tincey retains Austen’s acerbic narration – largely absent from most adaptations – allowing the myriad characters to address the author’s dry, wry humour directly to the audience. The result is genuinely, unexpectedly funny, and thoroughly charming.
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