cast topper 

Leah Jamieson, Dannie Harris, Lucy Gray, Megan Louise Wilson and Emmy Stonelake

Pictures: Matt Crockett

Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of)

Birmingham Rep


It takes craft, skill, imagination, timing and sheer hard work to make superb theatre and Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) is a testament to the very best.

This energetic take on Jane Austen’s much loved and often seriously repeated novel, is now the product of a contemporary comedy review. But for all its injected pop songs, bawdy bad language and party antics there remains a lot of respect for Austen’s much-loved tale, and that somehow elevates its core theme of love.

It’s clear how this show became such a success in the West End, where it won the 2022 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Comedy. The story is told through the eyes of the household servants who are reporting on the antics of their masters. It gives them the ability to sarcastically reflect on their goings on with a wide berth for all type of comedic references.

cast mids

Emmy Stonelake, Dannie Harris, Leah-Jamieson, Megan Louise Wilson and Lucy Gray

You quickly forget the set up and just enjoy the ride as the action begins. Writer Isobel McArthur has packed each character with a work load that requires the very best of the performers. Swift character changes, musical ability, slick prop and scene changes make this a real challenge, as any one delay or hiccup would impair the punch of every line. Thankfully the cast of Lucy Gray, Dannie Harris, Leah Jamieson, Emmy Stonelake and Megan Louis Wilson never missed a beat.

Director Simon Harvey has honed the production to an inch of its life. Even the lighting and sound gags were timed to perfection and delivered with real invention.

With well-chosen songs cleverly injected into the production like Holding Out for a Hero to Carly Simons You’re So Vain, used in this instance to reflect on the arrival of Mr Darcy, the show flows effortlessly between Morecambe and Wise comedy, into the youthful chaos of the Young Ones and back into real heartfelt drama.

There are some passages that still needed long narration to continue the story, but even they were cleverly done. For instance, the reading of a letter that gets thrown on the floor, stopping the narration of it, till it’s again picked up. It’s those kinds of details that squeeze every moment of comedy out of every scene.

By the time the end arrives and an upbeat take on Young Hearts Run Free pumps out over the sound system, the audience were up out of their seats in celebration of this very cheeky retake on this Austen classic.

With such a good feel about it all and with the popular  reworking of Stately home dramas,  I would not be surprised if this went the way of Mamma Mia and found its way onto the big screen at some time in the future. To 22-04-23. 

Jeff Grant


Miss Austen's saga of the Bennet family will return to the Midlands* (*sort of) at Malvern 30 May-3 June 2023 

Index page Rep Reviews A-Z Reviews by Theatre