★★★★☆ Two Bit Classics, Jermyn Street Theatre
This play is an intelligent and heartfelt adaption of the Jane Austen classic. With witty and creative uses of narration, this story tells of one of the most romantic novels of all time.
When Mr Bingley moves to Netherfield Estate, Mrs Bennet gets excited as she hopes one of her daughters is to marry him. Having five daughters, she’s constantly trying to marry them off. Mr Bennet is a relaxed man compared to that of his wife, who is not as eager as his wife. When Jane meets Mr Bingley, they seem to have a mutual interest in each other. However, his sister doesn’t agree with their possible relationship. Meanwhile, Mr Darcy, a handsome and proud aristocrat, doesn’t make a good first impression with Elizabeth.
Joannah Tincey adapted the play, creating a theatrical experience of the novel. Starring two actors playing 21 characters that are distinguished and clear, finding the line between narrator and character. Her genius of exploring the 200-year-old story and turning it into a play that only uses Austen’s own words, is well thought and works brilliantly in the small space of the Jermyn Street Theatre.
Nick Underwood’s portrayal of Jane Bennett is elegant and feminine and an audience favourite. His coughing as Kitty creates laughter from beginning to end.
Director Abigail Anderson created an engaging romantic play, bringing famous personas from British Literature to the stage. She uses the third person narrative that introduces a dialogue between two characters, and by addressing the audience, they create a sense of relationship.
Whereas it is slow at points, once you pick up the story, it’s easy to get lost in it. It also seems slightly confusing, the actors are running around, changing characters and it takes a while until you catch on. After understanding which person possesses what characteristic, it’s easy to follow their journey.
The show uses a creative approach of narration in order to change characters. Underwood and Tincey narrate while acting and therefore explaining who is speaking. One element that makes this play so beautiful are the little differences between each character. A pipe for Mr Bennet, a handkerchief for Mrs Bennet. A change of tone, accent or body language. Those details accentuate the amazing character work by the two actors, showing that they know their characters very well.