Spotlight: Pride and Prejudice

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Pride and Prejudice. Photo courtesy The Citadel Theatre. 

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

Most of us know the story of the Bennets. Set in the early 19th century, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice follows Mr & Mrs. Bennet and their five daughters as they navigate Regency society. One of several unmarried sisters, our protagonist Elizabeth is quirky, quick-witted, and often awkward. When Charles Bingley moves into the neighbouring estate, Elizabeth’s high-strung mother sets her sights on this eligible bachelor, determined to ensure that her daughters marry and secure a prosperous future.

Austen’s story is a classic one. Endlessly adapted and reimagined, its 19th century setting doesn’t stop the events of Pride and Prejudice from having a modern appeal. The themes–love, relationships, and the emotions that make us all human–transcend time period. So, it is no surprise that The Citadel Theatre’s exciting new production of this iconic tale is already an audience favourite.

Adapted by American playwright Kate Hamill and directed by Edmonton’s own Mieko Ouchi, this play follows in the footsteps of Austen’s novel. Lizzy (expertly depicted by Gianna Vacirca) attends balls with her sister Jane (Morgan Yamada) and best friend Charlotte Lucas (Garett Ross), dodges her mother’s match-making efforts, and stumbles into awkward encounters with the reserved and prideful Mr. Darcy (Karl Ang). Ouchi’s direction, aided by a picturesque set designed by Scott Reid and dreamy costuming by Deanna Finnman, transports audiences directly into the pages of the literary classic.

Gianna Vacirca as Lizzy Bennet. Photo courtesy Citadel Theatre

On top of a fresh new adaptation and inspiring direction, this story is told by a talented cast of actors. Several characters are doubled, with one actor taking on two or three different parts. This leads to moments of impressive quick changes, as actors such as Garret Ross exiting the scene as Charlotte Lucas and appearing as Mr. Bennet mere moments later. These speedy changes contribute to the overall pace of the production, which is akin to a train barreling full steam ahead.

In addition to Gianna Vacirca as Lizzy, stand-out performances include Nadien Chu as Mrs. Bennet, and Braydon Dowler-Coltman as Mr. Collins (although his other roles as Mr. Wickham and Miss Bingley are also particularly memorable). Chu and Dowler-Coltman both bring an electric physicality to their characters. As Mrs. Bennet, Chu’s energy is off the charts, as she exclaims about her nerves and pokes her nose into the personal lives of her children and neighbours. Dowler-Coltman’s Mr. Collins is equally hilarious, bumbling around the stage in the perennial pursuit of the perfect word.

The success of this production is simply undeniable. The jokes are numerous, the energy unrelenting, and the moments of comedy command the audience’s full attention at every turn. Don’t miss Pride and Prejudice at The Citadel Theatre, we promise you’ll be laughing unlike ever before.

Pride and Prejudice runs at The Citadel Theatre until April 2. Purchase your tickets here

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