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THE VANCOUVER COURIER T H U R SDAY, F E B RUA RY 1 1 , 2 0 1 6

Arts & Entertainment THEATRE REVIEW

Austen novel enjoys new life on stage

Photo by: Wendy D Photography

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Jo Ledingham joled@telus.net

The Discover Dance! series Modus Operandi A program of dynamic contemporary dance performed by some of Vancouver’s most exciting young dance artists.

Thursday, February 18, 12 noon

Scotiabank Dance Centre 677 Davie Street (at Granville), Vancouver Tickets $14/$12 students, seniors Tickets Tonight 604-684-2787 www.ticketstonight.ca Information: 604-606-6400 www.thedancecentre.ca

In Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy does not kiss Miss Elizabeth Bennet at the end. That would have been ungentlemanly of him — and he certainly is a gentleman. But in Janet Munsil’s adaptation, under the direction of Sarah Rodgers, Eric Craig (Mr. Darcy) does kiss Elizabeth (Naomi Wright) as the curtain falls; it’s what we’ve been waiting for from the moment they began exchanging insults so cleverly crafted they could be mistaken for compliments. Munsil’s adaptation is true to the novel, frequently employing text word-for-word. She switches up the order of things now and again; perhaps the most frequently quoted line, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife,” comes a few moments after the opening of the play whereas the line, spoken by Elizabeth’s father, opens the novel. Either way,

Naomi Wright and Eric Craig star in the Arts Club’s production of Pride and Prejudice.

the line sets the stage for anxious Mrs. Bennet (Katey Wright) to work herself into a tizzy upon the arrival of Mr. Bingley (winsome Daryl King) who has an income of £5,000 per year and Mr. Darcy who is even richer. The Bennets have, you remember, five eligible daughters: beautiful Jane (Kaitlin Williams), giddy Kitty (Kayla Deorksen), bookish Mary (Sarah Roa), rebellious Lydia (Raylene Harewood) and clever Elizabeth (Naomi Wright). This is a star-packed show with Scott Bellis as the very fey Mr. Collins. Bellis, as always, is so perfect right down to his out-turned toes and his slightly

high-pitched voice that lingers affectedly long on certain words. Collins is ridiculous, but a real threat to Elizabeth on whom he has his eye. David Marr endears us to Mr. Bennet, a rougharound-the-edges country gentleman with little money, five daughters, a hysterical wife and a big heart. While Elizabeth has no money and no property to take into whatever marriage proposal she accepts, her father assures her that she will marry whomever she wishes and for love. Whether or not Lydia marries Mr. Wickham (Paul Barton) for love is moot. This part of the novel is,

perhaps, the most truncated, and there is not much backstory to Lydia’s scandalous flight to Brighton. As Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, Wright and Craig are a fine pair. Wright’s Elizabeth is intelligent, witty and an excellent sparring partner for the opinionated, haughty Mr. Darcy. Her character’s eventual “fall” (into love) is accompanied by Wright’s girlish blushes while Craig’s Mr. Darcy almost prostrates himself when he confesses she has won his heart: “I am your captive.” Produced by the Arts Club, this is a delightful show. Munsil, Rodgers and her cast breathe life into the novel, transforming Austen’s wry, verbal humour into lightness and gaiety whilst not overlooking the novel’s darker themes. Forget the roses and chocolates, this Valentine’s Day. See Pride and Prejudice instead. Pride and Prejudice At the Stanley until Feb. 28. Tickets: 604-687-1644, artsclub.com.

Vancouver Courier February 11 2016  

Digital Edition - Vancouver Courier

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