BWW Reviews: Perfectly Proper SENSE AND SENSIBILITY at Orlando Shakespeare
Jane Austen's perfectly proper love story was not lost in translation at this Orlando Shakespeare production. Set in a time when ladies were expected to marry rich and keep their emotions in check, SENSE AND SENSIBILITY is a classic story of love and love loss perfect for ladies night.
True Jane Austen fans will rejoice atJon Jory's adaptation, which maintains the spirit of the novel and teaches audiences to never assume that one does not love deeply because they do not outwardly show it. Of course in this period piece, love is more than happily ever after. Love is about money, status, and family honor. Women have a responsibility to marry up or face doom. Women who do not marry may have to become a nun, or worse, 27-years old and still single, which is the Jane Austen version of a crazy cat lady.
Two sisters, Elinor and Marianne, find themselves of age to court and marry. Through a series of miscommunication and proper flirtations, the story progresses as we watch how both sisters deal with love and disappointment. While Jory's version of the story moves well, if Austen's characters had access to social media, this story would be complete in about five minutes.
Orlando Shakespeare has an amazing set of leading ladies who perfectly match their roles. Elinor, played by Lindsey Kyler, is the proper and sensible sister. Elinor hides her feelings, as lady of this time should, even in the most forlorn moments of her love life. Kyler gives her character the strength and sensitivity when needed.
In contrast Marianne, is outwardly emotional. She declares love for a man she barely knows, while shunning a man who truly loves her. Piper Rae Patterson as Marianne, provided a youthful emotional side to her character. While you can see her heartbreak coming from miles away, it is still disheartening to see a lovely woman in such distress. Patterson is never over-the-top, but is able to convey Marianne's need for emotions and romance, which makes her character charming.
Together, these two ladies were fabulous pair, feeding off each other's energy to portray sense and sensibility. Austen designed these characters to be perfectly flawed, which makes them easily relatable and easy to care about. It is the emotions that Elinor and Marianne have toward men, towards each other, and their duty to family that fills this story with color.
Orlando Shakespeare's production of SENSE AND SENSIBILITY is not all serious. There are times such as the mysterious third sister, and the outrageous Mrs. Jennings that bring unexpected humor to this production. Choreographer, W. Robert Sherry adapted some Regency style dances for the show, which were proper and lovely, yet intimate. This is a definitely a must-see production for Jane Austen fans.
Directed by Mark Routhier, SENSE AND SENSIBILITY stars Piper Rae Patterson as Marianne, Lindsey Kyler as Elinor, John P. Keller as Edward Ferrars, Shannon Michael Wamser as Willoughby, and Martin Yurek as Colonel Brandon. Joined by Kelly Kilgore, Greg Joubert, Suzanne O'Donnell, Joe Vincent, Anne Hering, Robin Olson, Danielle Gosselin, Nathan Sebens, Esau Pritchett, Brandon Alpert, Lauren Butler, and Casey Noble.
SENSE AND SENSIBILITY runs until March 17, 2013 at Orlando Shakespeare's Margeson Theater. For tickets and more information, please visit www.orlandoshakes.org. Orlando Shakespeare will announce its 25th anniversary season on March 13, 2013.
Photo Credit: Tony Firriolo/Orlando Shakespeare Theater