Stars explained: * A production of no real merit with failings in all areas. ** A production showing evidence of not enough time or effort, or even talent, and which never breathes any real life into the piece – or a show lumbered with a terrible script. *** A good enjoyable show which might have some small flaws but has largely achieved what it set out to do.**** An excellent show which shows a great deal of work and stage craft with no noticeable or major flaws.***** A four star show which has found that extra bit of magic which lifts theatre to another plane.
Half stars fall between the ratings

A delightful step back in time

Pride and Prejudice

Dudley Little Theatre

Netherton Arts Centre



REBECCA CLEE directs a beautifully enunciated account of Helen Jerome's adaptation of the Jane Austen novel.

Elegance is all as Society practises its gossip and its snobbery, with Jean Potter's Lady Catherine – she who is accustomed to deference – perhaps the super-snob in the face of some stout competition elsewhere. She deploys her hands in a display of studied superiority: “What? No governess? I never heard of such a thing!”

Like her, Andrew Rock illuminates the fringes of the action, but in a very different way. He is the bowing and scraping, hat-doffing curate, Mr Collins. He does not threaten to emulate Uriah Heep, but unctuousness is all as he comes obsequiously a-courting at the home of Mr and Mrs Bennett – she being the notorious marriage-maker with a clutch of marriageable daughters.

Lyndsey Parker is Mrs Bennett, a martyr to her nerves; beautifully spoken but nevertheless leaving no doubt in her delivery that she is doing her best to clamber into society and has not been born into it. Chris Fawson, as Mr Bennett, delivers a nice line in drollery as he does his best to cope with his wife's persistent push towards the social betterment of her family.


As the daughters, Karen Whittingham (Jane), Emma Dyke (Elizabeth) and Gina Lovell, as the perky Lydia, somehow cope with their mother's insistent ambitions for them. Her belief is that any husband is better than no husband and she displays it persistently. Dave Hutchins (the brooding Mr Darcy) and James Silvers (the immeasurably more outgoing Mr Bingley) offer strong performances as they come within her grasp.

Chris Brock is the unpretentious Mr Wickham and there are pleasing contributions from Jackie Bevan (Lady Lucas) and Alison O'Driscoll (Charlotte). Indeed, there is not a weak link in a cast that is 20-strong.

The production is engrossing and beautifully costumed, though it does beg a quizzical eyebrow in that the action goes on for about three months without very much change in the garb of these splendidly delineated characters.

There were a few first-night uncertainties but these detract only minimally from what is a pleasing step back into the early 19th Century. To 12.03.11.

John Slim 

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