Writer Isobel McArthur has ripped up the rule book when it comes to Jane Austen’s beloved classic Pride and Prejudice. Injecting it with wit, feminism and fiery females, this production tells a new version of the story.
When looking at the novel, Isobel noticed that all six of the servants mentioned in the book are female. This inspired her to create an all-female cast of Pride and Prejudice, told by those six servants. It’s an iconic book, but not an easy read and Isobel wanted to interpret it for audiences today. She has created an unashamedly bold piece of theatre that is vibrant, hilarious and quite frankly genius.
Expect karaoke, slapstick comedy and striking characters that all finally want to have their say. It pokes fun at the romanticism of Austen’s era through pop ballads that bring immense humour to the narrative. The six actors, Tori Burgess, Felixe Forde, Christina Gordon, Hannah Jarrett-Scott, Meghan Tyler and Isobel McArthur herself give a naturally dynamic performance. Taking on a multitude of roles the way they create the personalities of these characters is fascinating.
They’re outspoken, honest and flawed – finally we see these female characters in a four-dimensional way. However, the way they portray the men, shining a light on their arrogance and oozing self-confidence, is fantastically funny. They display the stark sexism of that time impeccably.
The cast not only produce a mammoth amount of dialogue and belting karaoke, but they play instruments too. We see them play piano, the harp, percussion and even a trumpet during the show. This production throws everything at you and it’s seriously superb.
Tori Burgess is hilariously expressive as Mary who just wants to have her moment in the spotlight – she finally gets it at the end and it’s totally worth it. Hannah Jarrett-Scott portrayed the over-the-top pompously posh Mr Bingley. McArthur brings a new spin to Mr Darcey in a pretentiously romantic way. Meghan Tyler’s sassy self-assured Elizabeth puts the women at the forefront of the show.
Pride and Prejudice (sort of) is a fearlessly female and wonderfully theatrical production that shines a new light on the well-known Austen classic. It’s punchy, rebellious and raucously funny.
Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) is on at Birmingham Rep until the 2nd of November, tickets and information can be found on their website.