You’ll struggle to find any male actors, BBC politeness or sense of decorum in Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of)… but there’s bags of attitude
Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of)
Criterion Theatre, London On tour until April 17, 2hrs 30mins
Bristol Old Vic On tour until May 28, 3hrs
Forget Colin Firth and his wet shirt in the BBC Pride And Prejudice. This show comes with an all-female cast and bags of attitude, in a version of the love story that’s part Jane Austen, part karaoke night.
Isobel McArthur’s feminist revamp kicks off with downstairs servants in Marigolds. They then enact the plot of the people they’re slaving for.
Meghan Tyler is a very Northern Irish Elizabeth Bennet. She’s dead stroppy, eats Frosties and swears like a trooper – as you would if you were forced to marry any old bore with money.
This show comes with an all-female cast and bags of attitude, starring (L-R) Christina Gordon, Tori Burgess, Isobel McArthur, Hannah Jarrett-Scott and Meghan Tyler
Her romance with Mr Darcy is played out nicely, the latter with staid reserve by McArthur herself.
The formidable Lady Catherine de Bourgh sings Lady In Red by her (sort of) relative Chris de Burgh. Mrs Bennet is in your face, while Mr Bennet is invisibly parked behind a newspaper in a chair.
Dispensing with male actors, BBC politeness or any sense of decorum, the show gets away with it because it beams with such a charming love of the novel.
You could say the same of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, which gets a makeover in Emma Rice’s wild and woolly production. The action – which needs trimming – takes place under leaden skies.
The show features Rice’s DIY style, including puppets, props and a multi-tasking cast.
Moments of farce (generated by the brilliant Katy Owen) pop up amid the brooding revenge and passion. Ash Hunter is the abusive Heathcliff, and Lucy McCormick gives a rock- diva performance as Catherine. Kate Bush would love it.