Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is celebrating it’s 200th anniversary. Ottawa Little Theatre is celebrating it’s 100th anniversary. Coincidence? Probably. Originally produced by OLT in the 30s, they’ve brought it back to the stage as the next installment of their 10 plays from 10 decades.
Should you see it?
Pride and Prejudice is the story of the Bennet family, particularly the three Bennet sisters. It could actually easily be called “Marrying off the Bennet Sisters” to give you an idea of the plot. Jane, Elizabeth, and Lydia Bennet are all of marrying age and while dad’s a little more mellow about it, for mom, marrying off her daughters is the most important thing in the world. Then, in answer to her prayers the very rich Mr. Bingley moves in next door and takes a liking to Jane. He’s got a buddy named Mr. Darcy who immediately forges a fire and ice relationship with Elizabeth but if you’ve seen any romcom before, ever, you know where this is going.
Not really sure I was completely pulled into the romance here but this adaptation of the uber-successful novel is a fun comedy. Specifically, it’s the antics and banter of the elder Bennets, George Stonyk as Papa Bennet and Janet Uren as Mama Bennet, who bring a whole lot of laughs and fun all the way through the show.
Niamh O’Kelly, Sara Duplancic, and Katie Volkert are the beautiful Bennet sisters, Jane, Lizzie, and Lydia respectively. All three light up the stage and give solid performances.
I singled out Katie Volkert when she was in Hayfever for two reasons, both of which still apply. First, her energy and presence made her a scene stealer, though here in Pride and Prejudice she has the benefit of playing a character very different – much less formal, prim or proper – than any other character in the show. Second, and totally a sidebar, she again gets bonus points for her program bio. (Surprisingly I was actually more worried she wouldn’t live up to repeating on having a great bio than I was she wouldn’t deliver on the stage. Hey, we all have our priorities.)
Of course, the core of Pride and Prejudice is the relationship between Sara Duplancic’s intelligent, confident, and judgemental Lizzie Bennet and Josh Sparks’ haughty, “I’m better than thou art” Mr. Darcy. Lizzie thinks she’s got Darcy pegged as soon as she meets him and Darcy thinks he’s several social steps above all of the Bennets. Can those two crazy kids overcome their pride and their prejudices (Exactly. Get it now?) and make it work?
You’ll just need to head down to Ottawa Little Theatre and find out. Or, I guess read the book, if you’re into that sort of thing. But if you do decide to visit the Ottawa Little Theatre, you’ll be treated to an entertaining and funny show with an all round strong cast.
I’d happily spend another evening with the Bennets.
But that’s just my opininion, I want to know what you thought. Do I need more romance in my life? Which of the Bennet sisters do you like or relate to most? Tell me what you’re thinking in the comments below.
For more information on Pride and Prejudice, including photos, video, and all the press around town, check out Ottawa Little Theatre presents Pride and Prejudice.
All photos in the article were taken by Production Ottawa photographer David Pasho.