pride cast

Pride and (quite a lot of) Prejudice

Worcester Repertory Company

The Commandery Gardens, Worcester


This spoof production of the Jane Austen classic represents another step down from the slightly more highbrow Shakespeare at the Commandery productions of yesteryear, toward a coarser and more farcical piece of very light entertainment that risks trashing the original piece of subtle and witty literature, but which generates some hilarity and midsummer madness.

It certainly helps if the audience are familiar with Jane Austen’s plot and characters – they may well get lost at times without that. But a lot of the humour is provided by the juxtaposition of elements of Austen’s elegant and more formal language and culture, with modern parlance and coarse humour and cheap allusions.

The marriage of Georgian society and Love Island, classical ballroom dances and silent discos, references to X-boxes, Lemsip and suppositories are all quite hilarious at times and some of the individual performances were brilliant.

The story of the Bennet family, their mother’s attempts to marry them off advantageously, and their father’s rather cynical detachment from his bevy of females, are widely known. This romantic comedy is the spine on which this production is held together.


Edward Manning as Mrs Bennet and Jonathan Darby as Mr Bennet. Pictures: Beth Martyn Smith Photography 

The performances of the three daughters are excellent. Alison Hellings (Jane), Geneviève Lowe (Elizabeth) and Matilda Bott (Lydia) bring great and natural vivacity to their parts. Matilda Bott also plays Lady Catherine de Bourgh in a drunken manner that is truly excellent. She drew enthusiastic applause from the audience for her cameo in that role.

John-Robert Partridge was a very appropriate, funny and eccentric Mr Collins, the reverend suitor to any available Bennet girl who ends up marrying Charlotte Lucas. Tom Riddell (Wickham) made the most of his limited role, also signposting the scene changes and time shifts as he crossed over with his notice board.

Edward Manning playing Mrs Bennet as the pantomime dame character was only partly successful and Mr Bennet’s role is rather restricted in this spoof. Robert Moore (Bingley) and Alexandra Whitworth (Charlotte Lucas and Miss Bingley) provided strong and lively support. Charlie Ryan grew in his performance and eventually proved an excellent Darcy in this context.

The performances once again revealed what an excellent choreographer Helen Leek is. The dances were not complicated but very effective. Chris Jaeger’s wit in the writing of this spoof shines again despite the shallowness and reliance on cheap and bawdy humour. It is an evening of fast-paced, very light and silly fun. For some just what they may be looking for; for some a reminder of how much has changed since Jane Austen’s graceful and sophisticated world a couple of centuries ago. To14-07-19

Timothy Crow


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