BWW Reviews: Lantern Theater Makes Best of Limited Script in EMMA
In a theatrical adaptation by Michael Bloom, Lantern Theater Company takes on the typical Jane Austen tale of the self-serving and precocious Emma Woodhouse as she concocts matchmaking schemes for her closest friends. In the process, Emma misinterprets where affections lie and is consumed with new acquaintances, possible intrigue, secret engagements and unforeseen romance. All's well that ends well in this beloved story that has seen many a reinterpretation throughout the ages.
One of Austen's least likeable heroines, Emma is played by Lauren Sowa who pleasantly carries the role but the real stars are the minor characters who are more engaging and amusing by far. Jake Blouch (Frank Churchill/Robert Martin), Peter DeLaurier (Mr. Woodhouse/Ensemble) and Charlotte Northeast (Mrs. Weston/Miss Bates) all take on their multiple roles with clever charm. Mr. Knightley is played delightfully by Harry Smith and Mr. Elton in portrayed in an over-exaggerated and awkward fashion by Trevor William Fayle.
Aside from some odd blocking choices in the opening sequences and the overly frequent, though well-rehearsed, set changes, the production features some nice moments such as the well-choreographed dance scenes that help seamlessly further the plot sans-dialogue. Unfortunately, the play itself simply lacks the depth and truly witty language that is typical of an Austen novel, but the production does the best it can with the somewhat limiting and lifeless script.
Kicking off Lantern Theater Company's 20th anniversary season, performances of Emma run through November 3. For tickets and more information, visit www.lanterntheater.org.
Photo Credit: Mark Garvin