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“PRIDE AND PREJUDICE” Reviewed by: Richard Lovelock
I must admit to a little apprehension about seeing this new adaptation by Simon Reade of Jane Austin’s classic Pride and Prejudice, a book she carefully crafted over 200 hundred years ago.
The classic village picture of the cricket on the green outside the Boxmoor Playhouse the afternoon I saw this production helped to set the scene for a pleasant meander around Hertfordshire in 1814 thanks to Hemel Hempstead Theatre Company’s rendition of this classic story.
Period pieces can at times drag as societies wrestle with concepts of a bye gone
age and a style of language much different to current day. Director Mariam Gaballa-
The red regency interior feel of the Boxmoor Playhouse lends itself well to the piece. With such an array of different scenes to portray, Mariam used the full extent of the width and depth of the stage plus the auditorium floor to give us a variety of different houses, ballrooms and outside locations which, combined with a clever use of lighting, worked well.
Using a small raise from the auditorium floor gave a good space for the ballrooms that Choreographer Paula Geere used for some appropriate looking dance routines that gave the audience the chance to take a breather from the intricate story unfolding in front of us. The one problem with the raise was that we occasionally lost some of the lib against the sounds of others walking around on the creaky floor.
There was an unexpected very funny start and more than a sprinkle of humour throughout,
exemplified by Mrs Bennet portrayed by Karina Bygate. Karina gave us a delightful,
The Bennets’ five daughters all individually played their parts well. Rebecca Pavlik
as the studious Mary was in stark contrast to the more adventurous Lydia (Taylor
The main protagonists in the play though are the final daughter, Elizabeth played
by Francine Watkins and of course Mr Darcy -
I loved David Lodges interpretation of Mr Collins, a most pompous and unlikeable character. He made us squirm and laugh in equal proportions as he first tried to woo Elizabeth, managed to wed Charlotte Lucas – sympathetically played by Catherine Law – and grovelled for the attention of anyone he considered useful, particularly the elegant and fiercely uncompromising Lady Catherine De Bourgh played by Imogen Roberts. It would have been easy to have overplayed the humour possible with a caricature such as Mr Collins, but for me David got his interpretation just right.
Period dramas – especially with a large cast – can cause numerous headaches for the
wardrobe department, I understand that all but two of HHTC’s costumes for this production
were created in house. The men’s costumes particularly were impressive – so a big
well done to Lynda Livsey-
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife" – the infamous quote from Jane Austin was the start and end of the play, and in between HHTC provided a very pleasant afternoon’s entertainment.
Hemel Hempstead Theatre Company
“PRIDE AND PREJUDICE”
review date: 20th May 2017
Director: Mariam Gaballa-
MD: Beth Thomas