Reviewed by J Wright
Let me preface this review with my most sage advice; don’t sit there dallying by reading any further, just go and book a ticket whilst you still can. That’s going to be the bottom line anyway. So, it is my most sincere advice is to do that part first before you indulge in the rest of the article. Ticket booked? Excellent.
Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) is an audacious retelling of the Austen classic performed in a way most folk would never have imagined. Through the eyes of the servants, the women who served the beloved characters and with a ‘below stairs’ spin on how the story is told. There might be a few F bombs and they are used to maximum effect whilst also being gaily littered throughout the script.
The show evolved in Glasgow before coming out to theatre society and stunning audiences since 2018. The challenge was to adapt a classic and Isobel McArthur absolutely stepped up bringing the most anarchic Austen you might ever see. Now, you can see the show as it tours the UK and here in Sheffield Theatres at last.
The cast, all five of them, all women, step up to play all the characters between them and peppered with a karaoke sound track and singalong songs you’ll know from the opening bars. Whoever thought of Holding Out For A Hero (editor’s note – song name amended) as having a place within this world of starchy romance? Or You’re So Vain, but I bet you can think of who the lyrics are aimed at.
Isobel McArthur is outstanding as she also performs in the production, taking the role of one of the housemaids, the ever pompous Fitzwilliam Darcy and the entertaining sot of Mrs Bennet. It’s hard to imagine quite how it’s possible to pull this all off with each taking multiple roles, but they do it and they do it well!
Hannah Jarrett-Scott was highly amusing as the affable, foppish and slightly dim Mr Bingley, each character taken much to caricature but still in keeping with the stiffness of the era in which the original was written, therefore it is inevitable that there will be high comedy.
It’s rare that I find a production laugh-out-loud funny, Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) is an outstanding exception and I found myself giggling and laughing often. The actors breach of the fourth wall engages the audience within the action and then the jokes seem to redouble in their capacity to tickle the theatre goers.
This is, hands down, the best production I’ve seen this year. I’d gladly see it again to capture the moments I might have missed and to watch the fabulous characterisation that each of the performers brings with huge energy and enthusiasm. The standing ovation was well deserved and I hear it’s happening in every venue.
So if you missed it at the beginning, and really dear reader, how remiss of you. I heartily recommend you book a ticket for this production which I so ardently admire, post haste.
You can book your tickets on 0114 249 6000 or https://www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/events/pride-prejudice-sort-of with tickets from £15.00 to £42.50