Monday, 3 October 2016

Theatre 2016: Review Twenty-Seven

Pride and Prejudice, Theatre Royal, Norwich. September 2016.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the Norfolkbookworm had not read Pride and Prejudice before seeing this at the theatre. Even the brilliant Longbourn hadn't inspired me to read the original but when a friend asked me to see this with him I wasn't loathe even though I did rush into the theatre straight from work and was a little hassled.

I am so pleased that I went, like all good theatre not knowing the plot didn't matter as the story unfolded clearly and with great pacing. Not knowing the original novel I'm not sure what was cut, I'm guessing some smaller subplots, as what we got was very linear and straightforward - I expected Austen to be more complex.

The staging for me was a little fussy and at times I was a bit distracted by it - a revolve has been built on the stage and the main scenery was a metal staircase/balcony. The cast and the props came in and out through this and the movements were all highly stylised. Quite a lot of the run time did seem to be the stage revolving and furniture being moved.

This sounds like I'm ambivalent about the show, and I'm really not - these are all niggles. I liked the actors and also the use of the orginal text into the script. I also liked the feminist message that came through without it feeling out of time for the play. It has also finally inspired me to read the novel.

This is the second touring production from the Open Air Theatre that I've seen and enjoyed in Norwich - I must make an effort to see one in their original location next summer.

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