Liam Webster & Alyssa Burnett
Sense & Sensibility (tour – Westcliff, Palace Theatre)
29 January 2012 WOS Rating: Jane Austen’s first published novel has been dramatised many times before. There are at least two stage versions currently on tour across the country this spring. This one has been written by Laura Turner for Chapterhouse Theatre and it keeps most of Austen’s dialogue, so that we hear the authentic voice of the main characters as the two sisters Dashwood lose their hearts and (eventually) find the right men for a successful marriage – in early 19th century terms, at least.
What lets it down is the staging. This is far too slow and the two serving-men (wearing boots indoors?) pall as their furniture-shifting acquires a jokey dimension. As this has been designed from the start as a production which has to fit onto all sizes and shapes of stages in a whole range of different venues, surely director
Rebecca Gadsby and assistant director Hannah Robinson could have found a way to keep the action moving and some simpler means of indicating the different places (mainly indoor ones) where the story unfolds.
The acting is uneven.
Aylssa Burnett offers Marianne’s prettiness and wilfulness, if not always the charm which captures two such different men as Willoughby ( Liam Webster) and Colonel Brandon ( Adam Grayson). Webster also plays weak-willed John Dashwood while Ross Ellis gives a pair of well-contrasted studies as both Edward Ferrars and Mr Palmer. Sarah Gain catches all Fanny’s selfishness and is worth watching for her reactions as Maria Lovelady’s Lucy Steele confesses her illicit engagement to Edward.
Lovelady also plays tomboy Margaret, the youngest Dashwood sister. This adaptation gives us 18 speaking roles plus five servants – all to be created by a total cast of nine. A little gentle pruning all round with considerable shortening of the running-time would seem to be necessary though, to be fair, I saw it at only the third performance of a tour which lasts until the beginning of April.
- by Anne Morley-Priestman Related Content Back to Southeast Homepage
Subscribe to our free newsletter
Featured Editor's Picks
Donmar stages Nick Payne premiere, Wesker's Roots & Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus The Donmar Warehouse has announced its new season, which features the premiere of Nick Payne's new p... Matilda on Broadway wins five Drama Desk Awards The Broadway transfer of Matilda The Musical has won five gongs at the 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards... Pulitzer winner : Islam is 'ripe territory' for drama Ayad Akhtar Ayad Akhtar's play Disgraced, which won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, receives its UK premiere ... Michael Coveney: New York honours Matilda with five big awards First blood in the New York awards contest went to Matilda last night, as the show walked off with... Opening: Relatively Speaking, Southwark Playhouse's Tanzi Libre & NT Shed's Bullet Catch Among this week's major London theatre openings, in the West End and further afield, are Relatively ... Young Vic's award-winning Doll's House transfers to West End Carrie Cracknell's critically acclaimed Young Vic production of A Doll's House, using an adaptatio... Let It Be extends booking at Savoy until Jan 2014 Let It Be, the concert show based on the music of The Beatles, has extended its run at the Savoy... West End gets Lucky with Tom Hanks? Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks is reportedly in talks to reprise his role in hit Broadway play Lucky ... Benedict Nightingale on judging the Bruntwood Prize Guest Blog: Former Times theatre critic Benedict Nightingale is among the judges of this year's Bruntwood Priz... : Theatre 'flops' ripe for reinvention Ten of the Best Defining a theatre 'flop' is no straightforward task. A general rule of thumb could be that it mak...