Theatre: Pride and Prejudice

Photo from the Open Air Theatre Website

It is a truth universally acknowledged that I am a total Austen fangirl. I’ve read all of the Austen books, seen most of the movies, and find Jane simply one of the most fascinating writers. I’m always amazed that I somehow managed to go through school and an English degree without encountering her (did a metric tonne of Dickens and Shakey-babes though, so there’s that), but I’m so glad that in my twenties I picked up Pride and Prejudice and embraced the Austen joy.

Of all Jane’s works, my favourite switches between the big three – Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and Pride and Prejudice, and whenever there’s a new production, film or spin off I am eager to see or read it. When I spotted that the delighted Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park was putting on a production of Pride and Prejudice, therefore, I quickly bought tickets, and on Monday I saw the show.

I’ve written before about the Open Air Theatre and how much I enjoy productions there. The openness of the theatre and the necessary spartanness of the stage (you can’t fly things in when there are no flies above from which to do so!) lends itself to intimate, innovative productions. Being at the mercy of the weather is also an experience – Monday dawned rainy and grey so I was watching the theatre’s twitter like a hawk for news. Luckily the weather improved and the show did go on – a steady drizzle pitter-pattered through the first act but cast and audience alike steadfastly ignored it, and by the second act things were positively damp, rather than rainy.

This is a lovely little production of Pride and Prejudice, with much to recommend it. P&P is a very dense book, which is probably why the BBC adaptation, with it’s six-hour run time (not to mention Colin Firth in a wet shirt) remains the most faithful and well-loved filmed version. As such, the script for this production had to be judicious with cuts and a few changes hither and thither, but the essence and the joy of the story was preserved well. I loved the set as well, and was amazed how with the main framework and a few chairs and other accoutrements the company were able to convey so many different places, from the conviviality of the Longbourn drawing room to the grandeur of Rosings and the gallery at Netherfield.

The cast were very good, with the Bennet sisters all lively and the gentlemen charming, as one would expect. As Mr and Mrs Bennet Matthew Kelly & Felicity Montagu were superb. From Kelly you got a nuanced, interesting Mr Bennet – some productions have him very blustery and removed, but here you got a real glimpse of a man who was kind and caring, but plagued by a mis-step in marriage. Montagu’s Mrs Bennet was a triumph, showing the many facets of the silly, scheming, and often hilarious Mrs Bennet. While not necessarily filled with compassion for her character’s poor nerves, I did adore the portrayal!

I loved the music in this production too. Lillian Henley’s compositions were uniformly charming (to borrow from Mr Collins) and punctuated or accompanied the action on stage quite beautifully.  Pride and Prejudice can be seen at the Open Air Theatre until the 17th September, and it will then be embarking on a national tour. I do hope you’ll go to see it, a truly lovely evening’s entertainment.


  1. Anna Nuttall
    7th September 2016 / 3:17 pm

    This look really interesting and I know a few people who would love to see this. Thank you.

    • Claire
      7th September 2016 / 4:09 pm

      It's really good! I'm going to see if my mother-in-law and sister-in-law would like to go to the Newcastle performance with me!

  2. LuxuryColumnist
    7th September 2016 / 3:20 pm

    I love the Open Air Theatre but it's a few years since I've been – this is the perfect Summer for it!

    • Claire
      7th September 2016 / 4:09 pm

      It's been glorious – Jesus Christ Superstar there was a triumph!

  3. Francesca Nelson
    7th September 2016 / 4:04 pm

    Oooo now I want to see it! I love Pride and Prejudice, going to see a show is one of my fave past times so seems perfect!

    • Claire
      7th September 2016 / 4:10 pm

      I hope you can get along to see it, it's such a good production!

  4. The London Mum
    7th September 2016 / 4:41 pm

    Off to find a ticket now! I love everything Austen!!!

    • Claire
      8th September 2016 / 8:58 am

      Fantatsic! I hope you enjoy – it's such a charming production!

  5. Samantha Rickelton
    7th September 2016 / 5:08 pm

    You can't beat an open air performance – this theatre and performance sounds like a lovely way to end summer (although shame about the drizzle).

    • Claire
      8th September 2016 / 8:58 am

      I think the drizzle is just the price we pay, being British 🙂

  6. Nicol
    7th September 2016 / 8:41 pm

    i haven't read the book yet. ive got it but haven't had the chance to read it yet 🙁

    • Claire
      8th September 2016 / 8:58 am

      Oh I hope you can find time – it's a cracking read!

  7. Rhian Westbury
    7th September 2016 / 8:48 pm

    Sadly I'm not an Austen fan, I remember being forced to read Emma for my A Levels and it was a tough read x

    • Claire
      8th September 2016 / 8:59 am

      Oh that's a shame. I think with authors your introduction to them is so important – I really struggle with Tolstoy after some awful, dull seminars at university!

  8. Kira L Curtis
    7th September 2016 / 9:02 pm

    This sounds so good! I wish I lived closer so I could've gone to see it. I always love remakes of the classics, especially in theatre!

    • Claire
      8th September 2016 / 9:00 am

      There's something so nice about seeing a story unfold on stage, isn't there?

  9. Lubka Henry
    8th September 2016 / 5:48 am

    This must be very interesting to see in a theater play such a classic.

    • Claire
      8th September 2016 / 9:01 am

      Absolutely delightful! I thoroughly enjoyed the whole production.

  10. Hannah Heartss
    8th September 2016 / 10:42 am

    This sounds so interesting. Might have to go and see!

  11. Mellissa Williams
    8th September 2016 / 4:18 pm

    I really want to go more to the theatre. This production sounds really delightful

  12. Melanie Ed
    10th September 2016 / 6:16 pm

    My friend would love this she is always going to the theatre.

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