BWW Reviews: The Rep's Exceptional Production of SENSE AND SENSIBILITY

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BWW-Reviews-The-Reps-Engaging-Production-of-SENSE-AND-SENSIBILITY-20010101Director/Playwright Jon Jory has neatly adapted Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, maintaining the crux of the novel while streamlining it for the stage. It's a compelling and engaging presentation that utilizes a single set to tell its tale, and there are a number of noteworthy performers gracing the stage. All in all, this literary classic is well served by an excellent cast and sharp production.

When Mr. Henry Dashwood dies his estate passes to his only son John and his wife, Fanny, with only a small income allotted for his wife and daughters, Elinor and Marianne. In the meantime, Fanny's brother, Edward Ferrars, shows a fondness for Elinor that rubs Fanny the wrong way, and Mrs. Dashwood subsequently moves the family to Barton cottage in Devonshire near her cousin, Sir John Middleton, where they are warmly received. It is here that Colonel Brandon becomes attracted to Marianne, but she shows little interest since he is all of thirty-five, which she thinks too old a bachelor to consider romantically. However, over the course of time, Edward and Elinor are married, and within a few years Marriane marries Colonel Brandon.

A fine cast is led by Amelia McClain and Nancy Lemenager as Marriane and Elinor, respectively, with Penny Slusher nicely essaying the role of their mother. Kari Ely and Peter Mayer are also quite good as John Dashwood and his wife, who disapproves of the attentions given the two daughters. Geoff Rice mades a good impression as Edward Ferrars, and Alex Podulke deftly handles the role of Colonel Brandon. V. Craig Heidenreich, Michelle Hand, and Jonathon Finnegan are all good in dual roles, and Charles Andrew Callaghan handles the duplicitous Willoughby. Diane Mair rounds out the cast as Lucy Steele a distant relative of Mrs. Jennings who's played by Nicole Orth-Pallavicini.

Director/playwright Jon Jory does an excellent job of guiding the actors through their paces, and he's eliminated a number of extraneous characters in the process of adapting the work for the stage. Tom Burch's scenic design is open and changeable, allowing the stage to become any number of residences and places of interest. Ann G. Wrighton's lighting nicely illuminates the action, and Patricia McGourty's costumes conjure up the era portrayed with considerable grace. Joe Cerqua contributes the sound design along with some original compositions, and he's assisted by Rusty Wandall.

The Rep's exceptional production of Sense and Sensibility continues through March 3, 2013 on the mainstage of the Loretto-Hilton.

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Chris Gibson Chris has been active in the local theatre scene for over 30 years. In addition to his acting work, he's also contributed as a director, writer and composer. Though, initially a film buff, he grew tired of the sanitized, PG-13 rated blockbusters that were being continually shoved down his throat by the studios. An opportunity to review theatre in St. Louis has grown exponentially with the sudden explosion of venues and talent in the region. He now finds himself obsessed with witnessing those precious, electric moments that can only happen live, on stage.


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