Theater Review: Admirable ‘Pride and Prejudice’ Moves with the Times
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen remains a classic and a choice of contentment for literary lovers. Jon Jory’s stage adaptation brings great justice to Austen’s original work, and the Stageworks Theatre production maintains the perfect balance of humor and drama depicted in the novel. The merge of English provincial life in the early 19th century with a subtle blend of modern songs is well done and allows the play to evolve and fit perfectly in today’s culture.
Those not already familiar with the work of Jane Austen are in for a treat, namely a discourse on love. Wit is the main attraction, especially the darling dynamic between Elizabeth Bennet, played by Jenny Marconyak and Mr. Darcy, played by Corey Roe, though much of the humor here comes from the dramatic interpretation of Mrs. Bennet, played by Meg Peterson.
With so many active themes, it is evident that the focus for Director Nathalie Tondeur was to properly develop the concept of his pride and her prejudice. However, audiences need to be attentive in following the narration of the characters as they transition from being the narrator in their character form back to strictly being their character. This is a source of some confusion, particularly at the beginning of the show, though as the play progresses, the narration eventually settles.
The lighting in Act I, which was almost absent, didn’t carry as much essence as it did in Act II. And although the play is not a musical, there are a few times when the performers grace the audience with their voices in a manner that was succinct and appropriate.
I can’t predict how true advocates of Austen’s original work will react to this stage adaption. Admittedly, my relationship with the novel takes me back to the mandatory read in high school, and it was much more advantageous to enjoy the play with its appropriate adjustments to today’s culture. Although Pride and Prejudice would have never been my first choice for a theatrical play, the skill with which this whole production is executed is admirable.
Pride and Prejudice runs through February 8th at the Fuquay-Varina Arts Center. For more information visit https://www.hollyspringsnc.us/1407/Stageworks-Theatre or the RDU on Stage Calendar Page.