‘Pride and Prejudice’ impresses with outstanding performances, captivating story

April 25, 2017

Hannah Harvey

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Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

     The rain poured outside as an eager audience watched Jane Bennet decide to make her journey to Netherfi eld, where she was to see her beloved Mr. Bingley, also in the middle of a downpour.

     But while Jane caught a cold, the audience was captivated.

     Theatreworks put on “Pride and Prejudice,” the theater company’s final show of the 2017-18 season, on April 20.

     The show runs through May 7 at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday though Friday, with shows at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and at 4 p.m. on Sunday. UCCS students can attend the show for free.

     The running time of the show is two and a half hours with a 15-minute intermission.

     The show, adapted by Marcus Goodwin from Jane Austen’s famous novel of the same title, was impressive in terms of the actors’ performance, coordination, lighting and set.

     The production opens with the Bennet family, a lively bunch that includes Mr. Bennet (Jim Gall) a sarcastic father that is more interested in his newspaper than interacting with his lively and, at times, melodramatic wife, Mrs. Bennet (Jane Fromme).

     But the main stars of the performance, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet’s five daughters, Jane (MacKenzie Beyer), Kitty (Michelle Pearl), Lydia (Stephanie Schlis), Mary (Sarah Lewis) and Elizabeth (Jen Taylor), are what steal the show.

     Mrs. Bennet is determined to marry off all five of her daughters so that they do not become, in her words, “destitute.” All of the girls, aside from Mary, are drawn to the idea of marriage, with some being more enthusiastic than others.

     But it is the rocky relationship between Elizabeth and the cold Mr. Darcy (Trevor Young Marston) that captivates the audience the most.

     Neither Elizabeth nor Mr. Darcy can rid themselves of their pride; Mr. Darcy thinks he is too good for Elizabeth, while she takes too much pride in her prejudices against him and his harsh judgments of her.

     These two characters exhibit the title the most throughout the play, effectively showing how both pride and prejudice get in the way of letting oneself express their true feelings and the dangers of making judgments on others based on their inability to let go of their egos.

     Eventually, after coming to this realization themselves, the two join together after Elizabeth rejects her cousin Mr. Collins’ (Ben Hilzer) proposal, a character that brings comedic delight to the audience throughout the show.

     Throughout the entirety of the show, I was continually impressed by each cast member’s performance. They were totally in sync, and they had to be, as the lines were spoken as if each actor was reading from the prose in the original novel.

     I loved this adaptation; at first I thought it may be boring to hear the lines recited in this way, but the continuous fl ow of the lines between actors and fl ow of action in different groups onstage kept me entertained.

     It was difficult not to focus on just one group at once – and that isn’t a negative critique of this show.

     Even the actors in the background were interesting to pay attention to as they had side conversations of their own and eavesdropped on the conversations of the characters who were the main focus of the show.

     The actors all had to emulate a British accent to deliver these lines and side conversations, and I could hardly tell if they weren’t actually English natives.

     Not only was the performance superb, but the use of the stage was great as well. Even though the set design didn’t allow for scene changes in nature and other city-based scenes, the actors still made good use of their space.

     Lighting from assorted chandeliers, and yellow and purple lights created an ambient scene wherein the actors could perform, which was almost soothing.

     The lighting changed to signify if someone was speaking from a letter in a different location, or whenever the girls and Mr. and Mrs. Bennet were gathering together.

     I liked the lighting as a cue for different scenes as it added depth that set changes could not provide.

     My only critique of this show was that some of the technicalities were not as tight as they should be. For example, the dropping of the chandeliers during ballroom scenes was not always smooth, and at one point, music was played too loudly too early, distracting the audience and making the actress yell her lines.

     I also did not like the pantomime of the piano, but I could see why it was left out as dragging a large piano onto a small stage when limited props were used in the first place would not be a good idea.

     Whether you’ve read the book five times or are a theater fanatic, come see this play.