Ha. So this morning I dug out some CDs for the car because I must stop chain listening to the Sherlock soundtrack or I will just give up and hop the next plane to Heathrow. I popped in the Crazy Heart soundtrack, and track #2 is a song entitled ‘Hello Trouble’ and it hit me that here is basically a complete distillation of Luke/Lorelai. There’s even coffee!( Cut so this is not obnoxiously long )
We recently saw a preview performance of this production of Pride & Prejudice
. It has some issues. It suffers a lot due to the fact that there is so much story that needs to be fit in. Even slashed and burned down to essential characters – buh bye, Hursts – and plot points – not much to jettison here since the story is very much an interlocking puzzle of the relationships among the characters - with curtain up at eight we didn’t get back to the car until a few minutes before eleven, and the first thing I said as we were leaving was, ‘well, that was long’.
They also had a fairly elaborate set on a relatively small stage, which was a problem because they had to fit so many characters – basically all of them - on stage at the same time for the dance scenes. I get what they did, because they needed to create the impression of a large house and they also needed a bedroom area for a few key scenes, but it ended up creating a visual that looked cramped and uncomfortable for the actors.
They also did some bizarre double casting – the worst of which, and the only one which actually ended up making me narrow my eyes and in the end judge, ‘oh, hell no’ was that of assigning the same actor the roles of both Wickham and Darcy’s cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam – though seeing the same actress who was swanning around as Caroline Bingley put on a bonnet and trill out Kitty’s lines was also bizarre. I’ll admit that when I saw this in the program I immediately said, ‘they did what? that’s not going to work. that’s stupid.’ So I didn’t exactly go into it with an open mind, but honestly – glasses and the part ruffled out of his hair do not make that guy not-Wickham-anymore. Don Bender (see next paragraph) would have done a much better job of being not-Mr. Bennett-anymore. Wickham is so essentially Wickham that you just can’t do that with this character.
The always excellent Don Bender was delightful as Mr. Bennett; and a little out of the blue, Mary (double cast as Anne Debourgh which worked out just fine as she had no lines) was done really well here – she was really funny - even with the small amount of time she was given.
Darcy and Elizabeth were both very good. I wanted to add that Jane and Bingley were as well – and Jane was – but I find that casting back now my mind is slotting in mini-series!Bingley and I have absolutely no recollection of the actor who played him here. Huh – weird. Anywho, Darcy and the adapter did a really, really good job on his growing on us – and Elizabeth - as the story moves along, showing us how agreeable he actually can be when he isn’t feeling out of his element. It’s such a hard line to walk because he really is violently in love but can’t play it that way for the bulk of his stage time.
In order to give the audience some of the lines that couldn’t be converted to dialogue with ease, Elizabeth is allowed in this script to speak directly to us at times. I didn’t exactly dislike this, but did find it a little precious when she ducks behind one of the seats and implores its occupant to hide her from Mr. Collins.
An enjoyable night out, but I am glad the tickets were discounted.