I was also a little nervous. I love the Austen novel and have enjoyed many TV and film adaptations of it over the years (Colin Firth in a wet shirt anyone?) so I wondered how the story would translate on stage.
Those fears disappeared as this lively production swept us away to the world of the Bennet family and Mrs Bennet’s scarcely hidden ambitions to marry off her five daughters.
Seasoned actors Felicity Montagu and Olivier award winner Matthew Kelly were marvellous as the Bennet parents and set the comic tone of the production, which brought the wit of Austen’s writing and characterisation to life. Montagu is a brilliant choice for schemer and walking hyperbole Mrs Bennet, whose wild emotions and reactions led to many a laugh.
Tafline Steen made a lovely Lizzie fizzing with life, forthright opinions and a quick wit. Her knowing looks to the audience made us feel included. It was great to see Lizzie played with such enthusiastic charm.
Benjamin Dilloway was a good Mr Darcey playing the perfect snob at the outset but growing in compassion and self awareness as the play and its plot unfurled.
Another stand out was Steven Meo as Mr Collins, the simpering and snobbish clergyman so desperate to be accepted in higher social circles. His slapstick and comical take on Mr Collins added to the show’s light-hearted feel.
The clever revolving set was simple yet visually effective transporting us between the Bennet household, balls and Pemberley.
I enjoyed little touches such as the letters being delivered by the sender and the dance scenes in which so much of the flirting and verbal sparring happened.
Overall, this was a delightful production that proved Austen is as brilliant today as ever.
I’m looking forward to the same company bringing Jane Eyre to the Centre in the summer.
Did you see Pride and Prejudice during its time at the Wales Millennium Centre? If so, what did you think?
Blogger note: I bought my ticket for the show and the centre was not aware I was reviewing the show.