Review: Pride and Prejudice

*Originally published 2016/02/18

When it comes to Pride and Prejudice I have read the original novel, read some retellings and sequels based on P&P, watched the black and white film to BBC’s mini-series to the Keira Knightly version, and I have seen Hollywood and Bollywood films based on the P&P premise. And, today I add the play adaption of P&P.

When I saw that the Arts Club (Vancouver, BC) was going to put on an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice I knew that this was something I had to attend.  I have enjoyed almost every production the Arts Club has done that have been adapted from books, movies and other plays (The 39 Steps, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Graduate, etc).  Jane Austen is one of my favourite authors, and even though P&P is not my favourite novel it is still a classic for me.  Austen has great characters and just amazing wit.  At times P&P plays like a melodramatic love story and for me it is a true romantic-comedy. Janet Munsil’s adaptation and Sarah Rodger’s direction brings out the humour of Jane Austen’s writing and P&P’s essence.  The actors as a troop did a wonderful job in heightening the humour that the audience was not just laughing but had that amused look to them that Austen would approve of.  I had a great time and 2.5 hours went by quickly.

p&p.jpgPRIDE AND PREJUDICE Written by Jane Austen

1813, 279 Pages (Penguin Classics)

Genre: classic, romance, humour, literary

★★★1/2

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

Mrs. Bennet has five unmarried of age daughters and when Mr. Bingley comes to the country she hopes his fortune will be her good fortune.  Thus begins the comedy of romance – as Jane and Mr. Bingley fall in love but have as many forces that want them separated; the Bennet heir wants to marry one – any – of the Bennet sisters but finds that no one wants to make that sacrifice; Mr. Darcy finds Lizzie tolerable and Lizzie finds Darcy insufferable; Miss. Bingley wants Darcy and her brother to marry Georgina; everyone is taken by Wickham but Darcy and Wickham is friendly to anyone but Darcy; Lydia and Kitty flirt with any man; Mary prefer books; and Charlotte is plain.  As courtships begin and end we are not sure who will be with you by the end, but we know Mrs. Bennet will try her hardest to get everyone paired off.

One of the reasons that this novel is not a five star book for me is because I am not in love with Darcy.  I find him a bit too much work.  I also find Lizzie a bit too judgmental of people so do not connect as much as I would like with her character.  Yet, I like them together and am satisfied with their story.  It is the secondary characters in this novel that makes it endearing to me – Mr. Bennet is just so lovely and I think Charlotte is the grandest friend.  I could go on about the other characters but you get the picture.  This is a love story that is more than just a romance as the wit and insights that Austen writes are just brilliant.  While I enjoy the story and would read some of the fan fiction and watch any movie adaptation it is not a reread for me.  I have read Emma a few times and want to read Sense and Sensibility again…but P&P has been read and I am done with visiting the story of P&P in that form.

Theater Nights: Les Miserables & The Importance of Being Earnest

*Originally published 2015/08/12

On Sunday, I went to see Les Miserables at one of my local theatre (Arts Club, Vancouver) with a good friend of mine, and tonight we both went and saw The Importance of Being Earnest (Beach House Theatre, White Rock).  The former was a novel (by the same name, written by Victor Hugo)  adapted to a musical and the latter is actually written as a play (written by Mr. Oscar Wilde).

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Image: Wikipedia

Other than seeing the 2012 version of the film, I knew very little of the story of Les Miserables other than it is about a thief, a Revolution and it is set in France.  I enjoyed the film but was mesmerized by this version of the play.  The actors of the Arts Club were great with singing, acting and keeping me thoroughly entertained – whether it was laughing or crying.  The authentic looking costumes and beautiful sets just added to the experience.  I highly recommend Les Miserables if you are able to see it!

 

Mr. Oscar Wilde is  a genius of words and wit.  His quotes from prose, plays and other works are always so funny and true.  I love his writing and reading his plays.  A few years

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back the Arts Club did a version of The Importance of Being Earnest and I thought it was brilliant and worth Wilde’s expectations.  So I was excited to see Beach House Theatre chose to do Wilde this year instead of their usual Shakespeare play.  I have been to a middle of the run and last show of the season and thought it would be cool to try opening night.  Unfortunately, they started out a bit rocky and not very confident in their roles.  Algernon was a bit overplayed and Lady Bracknell was flat and spoke to low.  In the second act they started to fall in place as Cecily  and Miss. Prism were introduced and their acting was spot on.  Actor, Paul Richardson, stole the show with his portrayal of Lane, Moulton and Grisby.   I think those with tickets for closing night will be very happy.