Jane Austen’s classic novel is transformed for the stage in this charming adaptation that really gets to the heart of the story.
The Hampstead Players and their atmospheric production of the beloved classic is well suited for the charming surroundings of Hampstead Parish Church – adding a hint of sophistication but without distracting from the story.
For those unfamiliar with the story, Pride and Prejudice tells the story of five unmarried daughters whose excitement is aroused with the arrival of wealthy bachelor Mr Bingley and his friend Mr Darcy. What follows is a tale of misjudgements and prejudice until all is resolved in a happy ending.
Adapted and directed by Jane Mayfield, the production moves swiftly and flows from scene to scene with ease.
It isn’t easy to make a set appear different with limited resources, but Mayfield makes subtle changes such as a throw on a sofa for audiences to realise the change of scenes in the different houses and it is effective without having to break the flow of the story.
There are many great performances to be noted during the production. Emma Lyndon-Stanford as Mrs Bennet is a calm and collected character – with the occasional moments of hysteria which works well for the character that can be overplayed in other adaptations. Meanwhile, Adrian Hughes as Mr Bennet mages to deliver his lines effectively that it draws quite a few laughs – capturing Austen’s humour well.
Sarah Day as Elizabeth was charming but balances it with feistiness that was lovely to watch, while Jon Waters as Mr Darcy may have slightly overplayed his character’s haughtiness but completely believable in the role.
There is lovely chemistry between Michaela Clement-Hayes as Jane and Barney Lyons as Mr Bingley – both providing very natural and enjoyable performances.
Despite the fast pace of the production, it still felt terribly long and there could have been one or two moments that perhaps could have been left out or shortened in places that didn’t add anything to our understanding of the story.
But it is still a charming adaptation that celebrates British literature and has been produced elegantly for the stage and will impress fans of the book. If you are in the Hampstead area in the next couple of nights – pop along and have a look.
Pride and Prejudice presented by The Hampstead Players is on at the Hampstead Parish Church until Saturday 28th November.