Pride and Prejudice
Time Out says
Theater review by Diane Snyder
Kate Hamill, whose humorous take on Sense and Sensibility was a hit last year, once again dramatizes a revered Jane Austen novel, mixing contemporary elements into the Regency-era setting. There is a pleasing simplicity to her adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Eight actors play all the characters, swapping costumes and even genders, often to the accompaniment of modern love songs. But in Primary Stages’ frisky production, comedic bits overwhelm character. Director Amanda Dehnert lets the playful antics descend into uncontrolled theatrics as the Bennet sisters navigate the rocky road toward love and auspicious marriages.
In the first act, especially, Dehnert and the company push so hard for laughs with supporting characters that the main story—about independent-minded Elizabeth (Hamill) and aloof Mr. Darcy (Jason O’Connell) swallowing their pride so they can realize their love—gets lost. The most effective moments are the ones with the most heart. O’Connell’s awkwardness as Darcy executes contemporary dance moves at a ball is endearing, and Chris Thorn delivers touching turns as both the mild Bennet patriarch and Lizzy’s practical friend Charlotte. Like Austen, they recognize the humor that can be found in restraint.
Cherry Lane Theatre (Off Broadway). By Kate Hamill. Directed by Amanda Dehnert. With ensemble cast. Running time: 2hrs 25mins. One intermission. Through Jan 6.