• Christopher McPhillips

Pride & Prejudice* (Sort Of)*

Updated: Aug 17, 2019

I have spent much of last year writing guest blogs for premium service matchmakers like Intro NW. Most of my ideas, learning, suggestions and guidance focuses on building relationships. To this, you need to take responsibility for yourself, listen, and be honest. Embarrassingly I didn’t have an intimate knowledge of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Being an Actor as well as a Blogger I must admit that I should have known more than I did. After seeing last nights performance, I must say that on this occasion, I am glad I was pretty much clueless before heading into The Tron. I had zero expectations, and I enjoyed the performance more for what it was. What it was my friends, was bloody entertaining.

We are always trying to say something; be it in art, the coffee shop, our Facebook/Twitter pages or even face to face conversation. Film and Theatre adaptations of classics do this so well, and Blood of the Young is no different with Pride and Prejudice* (*Sort Of).

The performance took you on a journey back and forward in time, so you could hear, understand and appreciate Jane Austen's story of a group of girls in the 18th century struggling with the trials and tribulations of love, marriage, friendship, social class and isolation.

The Cast of Pride & Prejudice* (Sort Of)* Toni Burgess, Hannah Jarrett-Scott, Christina Gordon, Isobel McArthur, and Meghan Tyler.

It’s safe to say I am glad that we have progressed from this period where the only way to maintain wealth was to marry wealth. This was indeed the case for the woman back then.

Mrs Bennett (Isobel McArthur) is desperately trying to prepare her daughters in a significant effort to find a man to marry ignoring everything that makes marriage more than a legally binding contract between two people. Achieving such a task in this period would ensure the family overall would have a wealth to live on and a social status upheld.

The spine of Jane Austen’s book is maintained, but the meat of the story is delivered in a much more modern way. Songs and dancing are aplenty with expert use of modern-day props and period costume. This blend for me helps an audience get to grips with Austen’s story, and with contemporary language and music, everyone will actually understand what the story is. I enjoyed this performance so much I recommended it to my friends and family.

Image Credit: John Johnson | www.johnjohnstonphotography.co.uk

Some of my favourite parts were:

- The girl that was doing the British Sign Language translation. Knowing that I was going to write this review blog, I feel terrible for not finding out what her name was. Should I find out I will be more than happy to edit this part and ensure everyone knows that you did an excellent job. The girl was not avoided part of the picture like a cluster of dead pixels on a laptop monitor. She was a dynamic and pleasant addition to the performance. Not just there to translate, but actually, perform; sing, dance and interact as part of the ensemble.

- All female cast. The performers took up every role required to make this production what it was. It was fitting and just as the performers are telling a story of an era where woman would live with such restriction and “you can’t” situations. When Mr Bennett’s chair was wheeled out I thought, okay maybe we have one male performer, but in a turning of the proverbial table, perhaps he won’t have any lines. A role that I could handle I thought to myself. Not the case here though; and it added to the humour that was plentiful through the performance.

- Writing letters scene. Despite the use of modern days props, I loved that the writing of letters between Elizabeth and Jane was maintained. Writing letters is almost an extinct form of communication, and it would have been easy to replace this with SMS messaging, but it wasn’t. The scene was acted superbly too. With every letter, there was more and more urgency, more truth, more hurt and more problems to solve.

- The horse. I want to mount Willie! I didn’t see the full sized gimmicked horse coming, good job!

I can only imagine that some hard-line critics will be unhappy with the modernised props or pop songs to highlight a theme or a tone. They have their place and if any critic out there isn’t completely happy, has the right to their opinion. For me, this production is what theatre needs in 2018. This is the kind of adaptation that we need in modern-day theatre to bring people back.

I don’t attend the theatre so that I can show off to my friends; I go because I want to be entertained. I want to escape my world for a little just like I do when I go to the movies, or a cuddle up with the Mrs to binge on 5 (or 42) episodes of a Netflix hosted series.

Pride and Prejudice* (*Sort Of) achieved this. I knew going in that I would be at The Tron for over 2 hours; however, it didn’t feel like that. I was pulled in, and I was living every moment with the sisters, feeling the struggles, almost singing along when the time was right. Thank God I didn’t, I would have emptied the room. Time flew by, and I was even disappointed for a second when it was the interval.

Image Credit: John Johnson | www.johnjohnstonphotography.co.uk

I hope and pray that this production comes back again in 2019 or 2020. I honestly think it would do well and sell out every night at the Tron. It’s the type of production that I would love to see in my hometown. Paul, Isobel, that is a big hint to bring it to the Reconnect Regal Theatre in Bathgate.

Thank you to everyone that worked on this production, you have done a fabulous job. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and I would come again, except next time I would bring a busload of people with me. 5 stars review from me.

There is a limited amount of performance left, get along and enjoy a classic tale with a modern approach.


Thank you for stopping by!

#theatrereview #review #theatre #acting #performing

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