Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of), a unique and inventive adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic love story has opened at the Criterion Theatre in London’s West End. Tickets forPride and Prejudice* (*sort of) are booking until 14 February 2022.
Considered one of the most famous stories in literature, the story is retold by five young female servants who not only bring all of Austen’s characters to life, but sing modern pop songs and play instruments.
Men, money and microphones are fought over in this comic adaptation, which includes pop classics such as Every Day I Write the Book, Young Hearts Run Free, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, I Got You Babe and You’re So Vain.
Starring writer and director Isobel McArthur in the role of Darcy and Mrs Bennet this irreverent but affectionate adaptation also featuresTori Burgess as Lydia and Mr Collins, Christina Gordon as Lady Catherine de Bourgh and Jane, Hannah Jarrett-Scott as Charlotte Lucas and Charles Bingley and Meghan Tyler as Lizzie Bennet.
Reviews for the show have been warm and positive, with critics highlighting the enthusiasm and exceptionalism of the cast in bringing all their characters to life. The creative team include direction by Isobel McArthur and Simon Harvey, with comedy staging by Jos Houben, design by Ana Inés Jabares-Pita, lighting by Colin Grenfell, musical supervision by Michael John McCarthy, sound design by Michael John McCarthy and Luke Swaffield for Autograph and choreography by Emily-Jane Boyle.
Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) has an open ended run at the Criterion Theatre, though is currently booking up to 17 April 2022.
Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) reviews
"Austen would have loved this smart, silly, laugh-out-loud show"
"This full-bodied, all-female adaptation of Austen's masterpiece at the Criterion is even better than it was two years ago – praise indeed"
"Rough-hewn but joyous musical take on the classic novel works in everything from Carly Simon to Chris de Burgh"
"As far as McArthur’s script goes, the (*sort of) in the title is key, with comedy that is hearty and upfront in place of Austen’s sly satire although it captures the essence of the book."
"The show has the spirit of fringe theatre and its rough-hewn, riotous nature might have sat at odds with this West End venue but it proves a natural fit with just the right balance between scrappiness and careful orchestration."
"However inconceivable a production it sounds, with its karaoke numbers and its silliness, it creates something new and joyous from the old."
"An irreverent but overlong look at Jane Austen"
"McArthur’s script, mixing bawdy anachronisms with a sprinkling of karaoke-ish pop songs, certainly has its charms, but it’s also excessively padded out."
"There’s bite to this fluffy cucumber sandwich of a show"
"Austen is a master of understatement and carefully shaded little ironies. This production drags her subtext kicking and screaming into the daylight. Hardened Janeites might well cry “Heaven and earth! Are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted!” But with the loss of tradition and subtlety comes something else: a scathing critique of a society where the rich got to gossip and party all day while servants scrubbed, and where ladies used politeness as a survival tactic – one that today’s women can joyfully, raucously discard."
"This anarchic Austen reboot will make you happy"
"This sweary, anarchic reboot of Pride and Prejudice by Scottish writer Isobel McArthur, in which an all-female cast of five play all of the characters, pretty much nails it. It’s a joy whether you’re a paid-up Janeite or not."
"McArthur (who also stars and co-directs) offers us a version of this classic that is brilliantly blunt and wears its feminism on its sleeve. And… it’s got KARAOKE"
"With its own cheeky charm, it throws everything at the wall. Not everything sticks: more could be made of the neat framing device that appoints the novel’s unseen servants as our storytellers"
"It’s the kind of warm, big-hearted show the West End needs"
"A Smashingly Smart Austen Adaptation"
"Adding karaoke to the 19th century’s blueprint rom-com may sound like a translation too far but the shocking truth of Isobel McArthur’s smart, riotously funny five-woman adaptation, now playing on the West End, is how faithful it is to Austen while being gloriously entertaining."
"As sharp-eyed as it is seemingly silly, McArthur’s play-with-songs mirrors Austen by maintaining a shrewd 21st century perspective on the well-told tale of Elizabeth, Jane, Lydia and the other two who, face it, no one properly remembers."
"Uproarious and irreverent"
"It’s good fun, even if the pacing feels a bit off at times and some of the gags are a tad over-indulgent. Austen’s exquisitely delicate yet biting use of language is deliberately blunted and the internal becomes external."
"Ana Inés Jabares-Pita’s gorgeous set design perfectly matches the enchantingly pretty pink-and-cream Criterion Theatre auditorium"
"Gleefully in-yer-face stage adaptation"
"Stretched out over two-and-a-half hours it does wear itself thin. It’s brimming with energy, but ends up feeling like a slightly MOR endeavour, an extended riff on the enduring British love of the novel rather than a revelatory deconstruction of it."
"It is an awful lot of fun, a naughty-but-nice celebration of Austen’s classic that could easily find itself shacked up at the Criterion Theatre for years to come."
"Bursting with wit, verve, and love"
"It’s a skirt-swishing, toe-tapping delight."
"The five-strong cast (pictured above) shows incredible range, playing five instruments between them"
"Like all the best productions, this one is built out of love."
Date: 4 November 2021
Written by: Sarah James
Tags: Criterion Theatre, Pride and Prejudice