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PRIDE & PREJUDICE Kavinoky Theatre
By
Mar 7, 2022, 12:24
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Through March 27
PRIDE & PREJUDICE Kavinoky Theatre

Marriage in literature can be a fascinating guide to the social mores of the time and the place.
Jane Austen’s “Pride & Prejudice” is a look at the mores of England during the Napoleonic Wars.
Austen starting to write the book early on in the wars, eventually finishing it very near the end.
The action takes place in a rural area not far from London and the suburbs, a community of rural poor, rich and families somewhere in the middle.
There are also the quirks of inheritance laws.
Mr. Bennet (Chris Brandjes) owns an estate where he and his wife are raising their daughters and trying to marry them off.
When he dies, the estate will pass to a relative and Mrs. Bennet (Diane DiBernardo) and the daughters will be, probably, homeless.
Actually, there are fewer daughters in the play than in the novel.
So, Mrs. Bennet is doing her best to get the daughters married off.
The obvious targets are local rich guys, or at least, locals with good jobs.
The first target is Mr. Darcy (Ben Michael Moran), along with his friend, Mr. Bingley (Jake Albarella).
Also on the target list are Mr. Collins (Jake Hayes), a minister and heir to the estate, and Wickham (Hayes), a lieutenant in the local militia.
The Kavinoky Theatre’s production is based on a Kate Hamill script, from the novel.
She’s edited down the tangled plot from the novel and even cut the number of daughters, to make it stageable.
Hamill’s script and Kristen Tripp Kelley’s direction make this somewhat slapstick, particularly Renee Landrigan’s Lydia Bennet and Lady Catherine.
There’s also Jake Albarella’s Mary Bennet and Mr. Bingley.
That’s an example of director Tripp Kelley keeping down the total cast, large as it already is.
There are five other cast members in dual roles.
The script (and the novel) has more twists than an Agatha Christie novel, possibly not coincidental.
This is a maze, as men and women travel in and out of relationships, aiming toward that wedding day to ensure the blood line and the financial line, important in all times.
Costumer Lindsay Salamone has to use blatantly different clothing to make sure we’re aware when Hayes is Wickham in his military uniform and not Mr. Collins in his clerical garb.
Basically, you just have to follow the twists and turns in an age when going on Tindr or hanging out in bars wasn’t the way of matchmaking.
Instead, it actually is a dance or at least dances in Assembly Rooms to establish what aren’t quite arranged marriages but are close.
It’s all who will marry the annoying and stuffy Mr. Darcy and his vast wealth and vast estate of Pemberley.
Besides Salamone, David King contributed an effective and quickly shiftable set, shadowed by a vast rural backdrop.
“Pride & Prejudice” is entertaining and enlightening, with some strong performances, especially Moran’s overdone and introverted Darcy and Landrigan’s overdone, haughty and aristocratic Lady Catherine, very different from her near acrobatic Lydia.
It’s all a look into the past, so similar and so different from our own and yet similar in the quest for permanent relationships..
You aren’t even required to include Jane Austen on your past reading list to understand this one.
So, “Pride & Prejudice” is a good element on your theater list, a look at a society trying to remain somewhat normal in a time of world war.

A.W.

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