Words by Sian Hodkin
Earlier this month, ‘Pride and Prejudice‘ took to the Crucible Theatre, where audiences were ready to see how the classic love story would take to the stage. Jane Austen’s novel has stood the test of time for the reader’s love of Elizabeth Bennet, who wishes to marry for love not wealth and her complicated relationship with Mr Darcy, mysterious and brooding, but with good intentions.
From the start it was clear that Director Tamara Harvey was aiming for an alternative take on the novel by using Simon Reade’s dramatisation. Starting with a musical number and moving into the Bennet’s family home. Elizabeth Bennet, played by Isabella Laughland took on the role with style and class, at times it felt a little timid but as time went on she blossomed into the independent, witty Elizabeth the audience loved.
James Northcote fit into the role of Mr Darcy flawlessly. He mastered the dark yet lovable character and it made for an interesting watch. Highlight of the night was Michele Austin as Mrs Bennet, who was absolutely hilarious. It was clear that Harvey wanted to inject some humour into the novel but at times it could get a little too overbearing and detracted from Austen’s passion and romance in the story-line. However, the humour did keep it interesting and gave it an alternative spin, such as Mary Bennet (Grace Chilton) whose social awkwardness gave a break in intense scenes and Adam Buchanan as Mr Bingley gave the performance an energetic lift.
Overall, the play was comedic and exciting and I think the characters put on a fantastic performance, there was a lot of pressure with a story as timeless as ‘Pride and Prejudice’, but I think the cast gave it the boost it required to go on stage. Die-hard Austen fans may not appreciate jeans-wearing Darcy, but I think Harvey’s modern embrace of the novel was brave and worked well in her favour.
*All photos from Sheffield Theatre’s Facebook Page