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Theatre Review: Pride and Prejudice (Sort Of) ****

Michael Cox reviews a production that's 'an absolute blast'.

Another summer, another comedy at Glasgow’s Tron Theatre. This welcome tradition has offered up scripts of varying quality, from the awful to the sublime.

This year, we’re presented with Jane Austen, but not quite as we know it.

Pride and Prejudice* (*Sort Of) has a fun idea behind it: take Austen’s classic story and enact it via the servants who watched everything from behind the scenes. Five women take on over a dozen roles to relay the tale of the Bennett sisters and their loves and fortunes. What we’re also given is a mixture of Austen’s story, cheeky modern banter and a karaoke playlist of pop songs used to comment on key moments.

And it’s an absolute blast. Isobel McArthur’s script manages a balancing act between the reverential and the new, faithfully retelling the story with a contemporary zest. Director Paul Brotherston’s production is a visual treat. There are many great gags and flourishes, and the whole production moves at a quick pace.

The five-strong cast are uniformly terrific. Each actor plays multiple roles with pizzazz, yet together the five create an ensemble with a welcoming aura that’s light and fun yet constantly engaging.

It isn’t perfect. Some of the modern touches, particularly some of the profanity, seem thrown in more as a measure of proving it isn’t stuck in the past—though in fairness this works far more than not. What does prove a stumbling block, however, is its running time: it’s nearly three hours long. The jokes are great, but many gags are milked well before they complete, and there are many scenes that feel like they have too much fat on them.

But there’s no getting around how much fun the production is. Perhaps those wanting a ‘true to the page’ staging will object with many choices here, but this Pride and Prejudice is a joy from start to finish.

Pride and Prejudice* (*Sort Of) runs at the Tron Theatre until July 14th.

Tags: theatre

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