Tuesday, May 28

Pride and Prejudice (*Sort Of) – Richmond Theatre

After an extremely successful run in the West End, this retelling of Jane Austen’s most famous love story is on tour, and I had the pleasure of viewing their Richmond theatre stop.

This is the classic story we all know told through a very different lens. Pride and prejudice (*sort of) is a masterclass in comedic storytelling and audience engagement. The story starts with the servants of Austen’s iconic characters detailing their involvement in making sure these love stories end the way we all know and love.

This is one of the funniest plays that I have seen in a while with so many laugh out loud moments, that I think I was laughing for 2 and half hours straight. There were multiple points in the show where the audience burst into spontaneous applause born from the sheer hilarity of the things going on onstage. The variety in humour in this show meant there was something for everyone to enjoy from sweeping physical gags to many punchy one liners. Isobel McArthur’s writing is a triumph.

There is engagement with the audience throughout this show, which I feel really adds to the experience. During the preshow the cast come through the audience, chatting to people about their duties. There is constant breaking of the fourth wall, that only positively contributed to layered jokes. My favourite part of the cast interactions with the audience was the party scene in act 2, the audience was so engaged and lively.

The set was simple as is expected for a touring production and used fantastically. The comedic use of different coloured flower petals or confetti to differentiate settings was effective and humorous.

Photo: Matt Crockett

Adding to a story told from a unique frame of reference, this show splices musical interludes throughout. In which characters explain their feelings through song, the karaoke style of the music was great for the style of play. The songs chosen work perfectly for every story beat and there are some real crowd pleasers mixed into the set list, the opening to act two specifically comes to mind. I also want to highlight how each ladies’ voice was lovely.

To further comment on the performances, I will say that each person was fantastic. They all brought something unique to their roles and each of the performers play multiple characters. Each of the five performances stood out to me for different reasons, but they were all fantastic.

Some of the characters to look forward to seeing in particular are Lucy Gray’s Caroline Bingley, she was so convincing and the accent she used was on point. My favourite character played by Dannie Harris has to be Mrs Bennet, she had some excellent one liners. All of Leah Jameson’s characters were hilarious, she was exceptional. My favourites were Mary and Mr Collins, her physicality was a joy to witness. Emmy Stonelake was very convincing as Elizabeth Bennet and I loved the way she characterised her as sarcastic and stern but with a softer side. Finally, Megan Louise Wilson who played Bennet was lovely, however, my favourite character of hers was definitely bombastic Lady Catherine.  Mr Bennet was also an unexpected delight.

This is a comedy that will bring brightness to anyone’s day, I’ll certainly be dropping by again on another leg of their UK tour.

Pride and Prejudice (*Sort Of) is playing from 13th February to the 18th February at Richmond theatre. Tickets are available here: https://www.atgtickets.com/venues/richmond-theatre/  

Reviewer: Zara Odetunde

Reviewed: 13th February 2023

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★

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