Pride and Prejudice Reviews

Through Thick and Thin – A poem inspired by the play.

Don’t judge me
And I won’t judge you
Despite how much you want the best for me
I’ll never be you.
You always smile.
You ask how I am
You’re overdramatic when
Someone says no
Or goes against you when
It doesn’t really matter
But I love your flaws
And even though you hate them
They make you unique.
They give you personality,
They make me happy.
I’ll never be you,
And I won’t judge you,
So don’t judge me,
I have my own flaws.

Louisa Barton

On the 19th of September 2017 I entered a building in Nottingham called the Playhouse. The Playhouse is well known in Nottingham for their brilliant shows they hold and their acting studios. I grew up with the Playhouse and throughout the years I have joined their acting classes, summer classes and Critics’ Circle – I love it!!! As we entered our group, Critics’ Circle, were given a talk by the assistant director (Justine Sharp), telling us her job roles and how she became an assistant director in the first place. She handed us resource packs before the show to give us a basic understanding on how the show will look, an insight on the characters and the original author Jane Austen who had started this whole thing in a novel which was first published in 1813. The story charts an emotional development through a comedic sense. As I have never read the books I found this a great help before the show started.

We were assigned our seats and the show began – so excited!!The whole set had a bird like cage around it and some of the characters would hang windows and pictures through scene changes. The mirrors reflected all the characters on stage which made the performance beautiful.
As I was watching I realised that the story was comedic and romantic…but erring more towards humour. The play was about 3 daughters who were desperate to marry. They have never experienced same sex marriage and never considered marrying someone of the same sex and were looking for suitable husbands. They felt by having a husband this would bring financial security as they lacked an education.

The actors switched between their characters and their true selves to talk about the script and compare the differences between the 1800’s to the present date, 2017.

I enjoyed the show very much, it taught me many things about history, the author Jane Austen and different ways on producing a play. This show would be great for age 12+ as it is very educational and has a funny way of showing the emotional development carried throughout. It is full of sparks and laughter and I would 100% recommend it.

Noor Osman-Britton

Pride and Prejudice Reviews

Pride and Prejudice
For a book that’s so well known, and yet so seldom read, there was a lot of open ground for Nottingham Playhouse to add an extra twist to this production. While the original was described to me as a ‘comedy of manners’, you don’t need to be an expert in Georgian mannerisms in order to raise a laugh.
That being said, I think much of it was handled in a way that might have initially confused the audience. Yet other aspects of the play were handled fairly well. Several of the actors showed their versatility by doubling-up in the leading roles, with that in mind, I think the acting was incredible.
The play had so much vitality, and it really helped to bring to life some of the more boorish by design characters (looking at you Darcy). The set was simply built like a large frame, enabling props such as windows and artistry to be swapped with ease and while I thought they could have done more with it, it was certainly unique.

But, as I said, it’s not perfect. The Playhouse twist placed the whole thing in a pseudo-modern narrative, one in which the book actually exists, the actors on stage are in the story, playing the roles of the characters for the sake of a film. While that works reasonably well, I can imagine it would have been quite off-putting for some. In addition, the inclusion of songs into the play, which suspends time in an attempt to emphasise a point, could be distracting for the audience. Personally, I think these two factors try to “drill home” the message of female empowerment a bit too ham-fistedly. I’m all for equality and equal opportunities, of course, but I think the more subtle approach works better.

This production isn’t for everybody. The drama teacher at my college certainly didn’t think it was for her.

But, you know what, I think all of that is fine, because it made me laugh, and it was supposed to make me laugh. When I am in the right mood, I can forgive the flaws, it’s the reason why we let the pantomime get away with such clichés, because it’s funny. So while it’s certainly not for everyone, if you go and see the play with an open mind, it can be quite enjoyable.

Evan Gwynne

You Would Do the Same

You would do the same
You would look for a man with fame
If you were a woman 100 years ago
Back then all a women could do was sew
Every daughter is looking to be wed
To a man who can fill the table with bread
The mother cannot sleep
Until her daughters have enough to eat
So she does her best to find them a husband
Soldiers or businessmen would go down a treat
The daughters can’t live on just their daily fund
Don’t blame them, you would do the same.

Ryan Dickson

A review in the style of a Victorian letter

My dearest Sylvie,

How are you? Has your brother settled into Cambridge yet? I can scarcely believe he is beginning at university, he still seems so young! It feels like a whole era has passed since we last visited you and your family in Derbyshire and spent that delightful week exploring the countryside and jumping into lakes, though it can only have been a few months I am sure. I have been active as has Arthur and we thank you most kindly for the anniversary present, the picture frame is most beautiful. It was so generous and selfless of you to think of us when you yourself are a widow. Again, I am so sorry for that. Recently I have taken up painting and Arthur has been busy hunting and working, he has become very tired though, you know how taxing it can be for him when one of his trading trips is not successful.

Two evenings ago we visited the Nottingham Playhouse Theatre and watched the marvellous performance of Pride and Prejudice. We travelled in our barouche of course and met with a few of our close friends. Have you made the acquaintance of Margaret Fulham and her husband? They are most charming people. The production itself was thoroughly enjoyable, however some young, lower class, girls near the back row kept giggling throughout most of the first act and I felt this was rather rude and showed a distinct lack of refinement. Singing was incorporated into some scenes most effectively and really lifted the piece. The set was understated yet arresting, it was all set in one dome-like structure yet could be transformed into completely juxtaposing venues by simple things like lighting and props such as tables. The actors and actresses were amusing and seemed to understand their audience very well. The character Jane seemed to remind me of you, for you are so sweet and gentile. I am afraid I am more of a Mary myself; boring and learned. The highlight of the production for me was the many Balls that took place. They were conveyed with humour, skilled dancing and becoming costumes. Three of my favourite things!

Please write soon for I do begin to fear daily boredom and your letters relieve some of the relentless routine,

Ever Affectionately your friend,
Francesca.

Ryan Dickson

Sara Pascoe’s stage adaptation of Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ was something I had not thought about with great consideration. Instead, I had arrived at the Playhouse expecting little more than the sugar-coated, romantic love story of Mr Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennet, as they fell helplessly for each other over time. I was stunned to find that Pascoe had told the audience a story far from this perfect tale, if one paid close enough attention to the characters.

Personally, I enjoyed the frequent ‘breaking of the fourth wall’, where the characters would become ordinary modern day people, merely partaking in the play itself, or observing it. This allowed the audience to feel some sort of relief from the constant monotony of character narration at some points, and would grasp the audience’s attention once again.

The characters were confined in a bird cage structure, erected for the play, which was particularly interesting as it also reflected how the women in this play, and during this time period, were caged and trapped in their marriages with virtually no human rights, and forced to live as their husband’s property. The set transitions were smooth and I also particularly enjoyed, especially as a keen product designer, the fact that the bird cage enabled windows and portraits to be hung and taken off the structure, allowing the audience to differentiate one set location from another, with ease.

Regarding the cast, I thoroughly enjoyed the diversity. There were actors of many cultures and ethnicities, which is lacked in today’s media and coverage, but, thankfully, in this adaptation, there is representation throughout, and the cast clearly bonded well together, giving the play its strength and welcoming feel, with close connections and chemistry between them all.

Overall, I did enjoy this production as it highlighted major issues occurring in history that still occur today, and also allowed the representation of many cultures and ethnicities, as previously mentioned. I would recommend this to anyone, whether they favour Austen’s novel or not, as it opened my eyes to the deeper sides and meanings in the plot, and exposed myself, and others, to the reality of life as a woman during this time, which is still an important subject today, and needs to be shared across modern day audiences.

Ava Mann

When I was told I would be watching ‘Pride and Prejudice’, I have to admit that I wasn’t entirely thrilled at the prospect- Jane Austen and her swooning two-dimensional heroines have never appealed to me. However, I was entirely mistaken. ‘Pride and Prejudice’ has now joined ‘The Revenger’s Tragedy’ and ‘Noises Off’ as some of the best plays I’ve ever seen as a member of Critics’ Circle.

The set was absolutely stunning! The giant gilded birdcage that had been set up was very visually striking, with an extra symbolic edge- Lizzie and her sisters are like caged birds, with little freedom or identity beyond marriage. The lighting also deserves a special mention. It was beautiful, with just the right balance between being soft and striking. I personally thought more could have been done with regards to the transition music as there seemed to be just random notes between scenes and it didn’t mesh too well. The music where the actors were singing, however, was fabulous, with humorous lyrics and well-thought out melodies. However, maybe this is just my opinion as a music student, but it seemed as if the actors were straining their voices somewhat to hit some of the top notes, and some of the harmonies were just a little off- but nothing too major.

Something else that didn’t quite work was the modern-day scenes with the actors who I think were supposed to be producers. It had little to no relation to the plot and was frankly quite confusing.
I really enjoyed the fact that the actors (in particular the Bennet sisters) broke the fourth wall regularly to explain the historical context of the play. I think that, as a modern audience, it can be easy to forget the fact that these characters were living in a totally alien world from ours, and judge them as a result of it.

The play was funny, too, something which I thought I’d never say about Austen! All in all, a very enjoyable night out and I’d recommend ‘Pride and Prejudice’ to pretty much anybody.

Maisie Walker

A comedy Pride and Prejudice? You’re having a laugh!

My dear readers, I must admit that when I first heard the words ‘a comedy version of Pride and Prejudice’ I was sceptical. However, it did make me go back to the story and realise the comedic elements within it.

Then came the day of the play and I found myself becoming curious and was interested to see how it would be executed. I was pleased to discover that they kept the story in its original timeframe and kept the characters true to themselves. However, I was confused by the decision to jump into a modern day setting of a classroom and editing suite. I believe this device was used in order to put across the opinions people have of the story now, even if it does make the current generation seem short sighted.

The set was beautifully simple and this made it easier to travel from one place to another. The design was shaped like a birdcage, which gave us the realisation that the women in the story are simply there to look pretty and be controlled whilst they are trapped by the social structure they are born into. This makes us aware of how outspoken and unusually confident characters like Elizabeth are.

It was ambitious to include music into the production but the lack of a musical director made it messy and inconsistent.

The actors did a brilliant job of bringing the characters to life. Rachel Partington made her professional début with the role of Mary Bennet and other roles. She was consistently funny and had charisma, which made her a joy to watch onstage. Most of the actors had the challenge of multirole and they all made the best of it and were consistent, keeping with the feel of the character throughout.

In conclusion, not everyone will enjoy this play but if you are a fan of Jane Austen and different interpretations of her work, I suggest you give it a go.

Rachael Wells

The Secret Confessions of Lizzie Bennet

Darcy. The one name that is on my mind. Darcy. He loves me, he loves me not. Could his feelings still be the same as they were last month? They must be. He saved one sister. Yet destroyed the heart of another. I think I might love him if such a thing exists. Mrs Elizabeth Darcy! How that name goes so well! What do I love? His brown hair, his newly kind eyes, and his love for his sister…I can’t help it.

And Pemberley, such a beautiful home. The gorgeous flowers, the large arches and all in the location of Derbyshire. I’m too young to talk about love but Lydia got married at 16 and I’m 20. There is a possibility that he might not propose again. However we could then do a joint wedding with Mr Bingley and Jane. How joyous that would be!

Hannah Spencer