Review: Pride & Prejudice* (*sort of) at Newcastle Theatre Royal
A unique and side-splittingly funny retelling of Jane Austen’s most iconic love story is currently showing at Newcastle Theatre Royal, and you need to see it
This laugh-a-minute masterpiece by Isobel McArthur has returned to Newcastle following its run at Northern Stage in 2019, where it attracted five-star reviews. Reviews we now wholeheartedly agree with.
We’d heard great things but wondered just how such a simplistic set and a five-strong cast could pull it off. It’s their sheer talent that makes this work.
Men (or at least these talented women playing men), money and microphones are fought over in this foul-mouthed adaptation, which is packed with pop classics including Young Hearts Run Free, Will You Love Me Tomorrow and You’re So Vain.
You might forget it’s the 1800s, but you’ll definitely want to join the party.
Five servants tell the story we know so well, playing instruments, singing and dancing throughout, occasionally seeking a bit of audience participation. Whether they’re amongst the audience or they’re on stage, they’re playing the various characters (special shoutout to the hilarious portrayal of Fitzwilliam Darcy) via subtle, quick and constant costume changes.
Their impeccable characterisation and faultless timing mean somehow it’s never hard to keep track of who’s who, even while the room is roaring with laughter.
The cast made filling the sizeable Theatre Royal stage with very few props but a whole lot of stage presence look easy, and their comedic timing is unlike any we’ve seen before. There are plenty of nods to the popular 90s TV adaptation, but all you really need is a sense of humour to enjoy this show.
Expect constant silliness but serious talent in this one-of-a-kind retelling of Pride and Prejudice.