Jermyn Street Theatre, London – until 22 December 2016
Two Bit Classics bring to life Jane Austen’s beloved story in a refreshing adaptation that features a cast of two.
How do you bring one of literature’s most beloved novels to life with a cast of two? Well, Two Bit Classics has great fun and imagination with this production, directed with great energy by Abigail Anderson and adapted faithfully by Joannah Tincey.
The key to this production working is the subtle details and changes of character, that sees Nick Underwood not only playing different characters – but also switching genders effectively as well. A swish of a skirt, a prop or two and a variety of expressions and voices are all the Nick Underwood and Joannah Tincey have to rely on.
While most of the characterisations are on point, in particular Underwood’s dry humoured but affectionate Mr Bennett and Tincey’s melodramatic Mrs Bennett proving to be especially delightful. But there are other characters which seem to be more caricatures – for example their interpretations of Kitty, Lydia and Jane Bennett – don’t quite feel believable, even though Jane Austen’s book makes a point of ridiculing society its not quite the same in the production.
What is lovely is the way in which Joannah Tincey’s adaptation makes full use of Jane Austen’s words, with all the key speeches involved that will delight fans of the original book. However, this reliance on the text can mean that the pacing of the production slows down, increasing the length of certain scenes that could have perhaps been edited slightly.
It is also interesting to note the way in which this production combines a mixture of dialogue and third person narrative, giving audiences a very different perspective of the characters and the relationships between them all – not just Darcy and Elizabeth but also the relationships between the sisters and other important characters.
Abigail Anderson’s production is playful and humorous, drawing out Jane Austen’s sense of humour in a refreshing way. But by putting the pressure on two actors to play so many characters in a very character driven story, can mean that it just lacks in finesse in places.
Despite this, it is still a cosy and heartwarming way to spend an evening.
Pride and Prejudice continues to play at the Jermyn Street Theatre until the 21st December. For more information and to book tickets visit: http://www.jermynstreettheatre.co.uk/show/pride/