BWW Review: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE OPENS AT THE KANSAS CITY REPERTORY THEATRE
If you think you're going to The Kansas City Repertory Theatre's current production of PRIDE PREJUDICE to see the classic written by Jane Austen you may be greatly disappointed. The adaption was written by Kate Hamill and is a farce on the romantic novel which has become one of the most popular selling over 20 million copies.
Hamill's adaptation reminds me considerably of my favorite movie in the comedy genre, AIRPLANE. In that movie, there is so much going on behind the characters that even after watching it several times you still don't catch all the sight gags. Fortunately for the audience at the Rep, the play is performed live, so they only have to suffer through it once. Yes, the audience did break into laughter several times, but for me, it was barely a chuckle if that. All the incidental sight gags only take away from the main attraction on stage and at times were more annoying than humorous.
About halfway through the first act, I overheard an audience member say, "Jane Austen must be rolling over in her grave after this." I'm sure she probably was from shock at how her classic was being presented and not rolling in laughter.
Not everything about the production was bad. The scenery and the costumes were very good and the acting for the most part superb. The award for best male actor goes to one of Kansas City's finest, Walter Coppage. The award for best female actor goes to Nicole Marie Green. Coppage plays Mr. Bennet, the father trying to get a wealthy husband for his four daughters, Charlotte, a friend of the daughters who marries rich, and parts in the Ensemble. Green plays Lydia, Bennet's youngest daughter, Lady Catherine who is trying to keep Mr. Darcy from marrying Lizzie another daughter and is in the Ensemble. No matter what role Coppage takes on, whether in a Victorian costume portraying the father or while wearing a Victorian dress as Charlotte he always performs to the highest caliber.
Other members of the cast are to be commended for their professional and superb performances. Sam Cordes, Nedra Dixon, Bree Elrod, Brian Demar Jones, Andy Perkins, and Lauren Spencer. Elrod as Lizzy and Jones as Mr. Darcy were the only two actors not to perform multiple characters, though Jones was also the Fight Captain. If Dixon's performance was by the design of Director Marissa Wolf, then kudos to her, if not then a little overacting never killed anyone.
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE continue at the Spencer Theatre through April 20. Purchase tickets online at kcrep.org.
Photo Credit: Cory Weaver