Pride and Prejudice

by Will Demers

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday October 10, 2018

Rachael Warren and Rebecca Gibel as in Trinity Rep's "Pride and Prejudice" through November 4.
Rachael Warren and Rebecca Gibel as in Trinity Rep's "Pride and Prejudice" through November 4.  

The four Bennet daughters are waiting for their future husbands, they just don't know it yet. Mrs. Bennet will tell them who and when, it's just up to them to say yes. So many daughters, so little time. The youngest, Lydia (Katie Croyle) just wants to have fun and drink punch, Mary (Angela Brazil) is just supremely awkward, and Lizzy (Rebecca Gibel) doesn't think much of the whole idea of marriage. Only Jane (Shelley Fort) seems to be hip to the whole game of marrying, when clearly the rest of the clan isn't.

Mrs. Bennet (Janice Duclos) will have her nerves on edge again and again in this adaptation of "Pride and Prejudice" the Jane Austen novel re-imagined by Kate Hamill. Gone is the stuffy approach to the books' class and distinction themes; but here it captures the search for romance, self-discovery and playfully distills the book's plot. Playful because here the humor is more pronounced and the characterizations are more over the top; however not overly so. Director and Choreographer (yes, there are some dance numbers) Birgitta Victorson lets loose this talented company on "Prejudice" and the results will make any cynic laugh out loud.

Genders are swapped as well; Joe Wilson, Jr., and Richard Donelly play both men and women, and Rachael Warren plays two male characters. Yes, the costumes are period, as are the hairstyles. Nor does the production lack dramatic moments, as Lizzy realizes her impressions of a certain man are unfounded and the tears flow. A delicate balance is made with modern music as a buffer between scenes, perhaps to bring the stuffiness of the novel's ideals to a contemporary audience. But the comedy takes center stage, and both Duclos' and Brazil absolutely shine in this regard; some of the funniest moments are thanks to their performances.

Both Wilson Jr., and Donelly find it easy to swap genders, a credit to their talents. Wilson brings the characterization of Collins to new levels of comedy and his Miss Bingley elicits much amusement. Donelly sharpens his dry wit as the hapless Patriarch of the Bennet family and brings a fun approach to the "horse faced" Charlotte Lucas. Warren is always delightful and here portrays Darcy as cocky and Wickham playful. Brazil is absolutely hysterical as Mary and brings a new lightness to Mr. Bingley. Fort also has quite a time between portrayal of Jane and a Miss De Bourgh, in which she's hidden behind a veil, dispensing short and funny approvals to her mother's ideas, played to new heights by Croyle whose Catherine is one to watch.

The production on a whole is slick, and typical of Trinity's company's talents, well cast. Bringing the modern music into the fold isn't a new idea here but it add to the fun of the piece; the dance numbers are brief and even the slight modern references in some of the actor's styles take away from the delightful evening. One cannot help but draw comparisons to the book and other adaptations perhaps, but this one certainly will entertain you.

"Pride and Prejudice" is running through November 4th at Trinity Repertory Company, 201 Washington Street, Providence, RI 02903. For information or tickets call 401-351-4242 or visit