Pride and Prejudice: a Review

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Rachel Faulkner writes, Pride and Prejudice: A Review By guest author Kathryn FaulknerHaving read Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility…

Pride and Prejudice: A Review By guest author Kathryn FaulknerHaving read Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, as well as other similar Victorian novels such as Jane Eyre, I went to see the University High School students’ theater production of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Kendall without much hope that it would be nearly as good as the book. After having seen the play however, I have no trouble at all in swallowing my own pride and happily admitting that I was wrong. Pam Wilhelm, the director, is highly commended on many aspects of the play, but firstly on her choice of casting. All the actors were so perfectly suited for their respective roles; there was no question in the minds of the audience about how it could have been better done. Amanda Bond, the female lead, skillfully guided her character Elizabeth Bennet through the story lines of Austen’s masterpiece, portraying her as an independent and headstrong young woman learning the consequences of being too judgmental or prejudiced, if you will. Elizabeth’s polite yet coy and slightly sarcastic mannerism set the tone for the whole show, especially with her habit of subtlety expressing her true thoughts and feelings while saying something completely different. The leading male character, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, was beautifully played by Connor Anderson, whose arrogant, dashing, and suave portrayal was exactly how I would have imagined Mr. Darcy to be. I would even say there was a new depth added to the character that one could not get by just reading the book. There is no doubt that Jane Bennet, the serene sister of Elizabeth, Mary, Catherine, and Lydia, has been reincarnated in the person of Kyriean Lauer, who played the character so well, it was hard to believe she was only acting. Mr. Bingley (Aaron Mull) had a very commanding stage presence that complimented the nobility and station of his character. Similarly, Miss Bingley, the sister of the aforementioned was well played as the stereotypical wealthy, snobbish English noblewoman by Leandra Grant. By far the best English accent in the show belonged to Mr. Wickham, played by Owen Fraser in the red coat of an English officer. The relations between Mr. Wickham and Mr. Darcy were better (and less confusingly) explained than in the book, something I was not counting on and was very much impressed with. The amiable Charlotte Lucas played by Taylor Hagler, also provided a pivotal plot line to the story that was delivered very dexterously. The three youngest Bennet sisters were all admirably represented by Renata Diaz, Millie Schreibman, and Courtney West, who even provided some comic relief to an otherwise serious story along with Rebecca Adams as their mother. Mr. Bennet (Alex Geslin.) also did a wonderful job of playing a good natured father whose personality bounced off that of his wife’s with well balanced results. There were several actors who added a new, yet not unwelcome twist to their characters and the story. One who immediately comes to mind is Lady Catherine de Bourgh (Cassidy Bone) whose limited time on stage did not do the demanding and haughty personality of her character justice. Other impressively unique character portrayals include Mr. Collins (Matthew Clang) and Lady Lucas (Catie Longan.) Even the minor role of the manservant Hill (Nay Kanan) added an insight to the lives of nineteenth century English nobility. Now this was opening night, and there were a few glitches that are to be expected at opening nights such as with lighting and line delivery, but these quandaries did little to detract from the play and subsequently instead showcased the actors’ collective skill for improvisation and quick thinking. Mrs. Bennet (Rebecca Adams) stands out in particular as having perfected her character interpretation almost to the point of not requiring the necessity of being scripted. The only lacking aspect of the entire play was not even the fault of any one involved. I felt that the script did not develop the characters or their various relationships very well, due perhaps to the limit of time. However, the actors themselves more than made up for this minor issue and the blocking of scenes also developed the play as well as the script would allow. Overall, I was very impressed. The cast delivered well considering the deficit of audience members, the set was beautiful, the story itself was fantastic, and I thoroughly enjoyed my evening. The UH drama troop did justice to the art of high school theater with their wonderful production. Jane Austen would have been pleased.

1 COMMENT

  1. Nice review!
    Nice review! I like how you pointed out the characters and the good & bad things about the play. Great job!

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