Pride and Prejudice review
A new adaption of the Jane Austen novel is on now at the Corn Exchange
Running from Tuesday October 4 to Saturday October 8 in central Cambridge is Simon Reade’s touring adaption of what is probably Jane Austen’s most famous novel. Featuring a solid array of acting talent, led by Matthew Kelly as Mr Bennet and Felicity Montagu as Mrs Bennet, the play was in Norwich prior to coming to Cambridge and its nationwide tour will end in Cardiff in February next year.
Despite a fairly recent film version, starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen, and what many see as THE definitive take on the story, the BBC TV series from 1995, the demand for Pride and Prejudice seems as popular as ever. Tonight’s venue was packed and ladies were taking photographs of themselves in the foyer holding up a picture frame and a speech bubble saying “#MrDarcyOnTour”.
The stage was set up to resemble the interior of a country house, with a staircase leading up to an ‘upstairs’ area that rotated at various intervals. Period chairs and tables were lifted up and moved around throughout, usually in time with the music. A large photographic backdrop of trees in autumn was displayed behind during a number of scenes.
The distinctive voice of Matthew Kelly added gravitas and feeling to the part of Mr Bennet and Felicity Montagu (perhaps best known as Alan Partridge’s long-suffering PA Lynn) was terrific as Mrs Bennet, one of the play’s most important characters. For many, no one can ever compete with Colin Firth in the central role of Mr Darcy, but the very tall Benjamin Dilloway succeeds in remaining suitably brooding and aloof, before being overcome by his emotions and undying love for Elizabeth Bennet, played with passion and energy by Tafline Steen.
Special mention must also go to Steven Meo, whose excellent portrayal of Mr Collins makes the character veer between annoying, uncomfortable and at times slightly creepy, and it is he who elicits the most laughs. Mari Izzard as Lydia Bennet and newcomer Kirsty Rider as Caroline Bingley also stood out.
If you are a fan of the story, I believe you will thoroughly enjoy this adaption. Catch it now at the Corn Exchange.
Pride and Prejudice runs until October 8, including a Saturday matinee. Tickets start from £22.50 and include a £2.50 booking fee. £15 tickets are available for student groups on weekdays only.