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Review: SENSE & SENSIBILITY at Burbage Theatre Company

Review: SENSE & SENSIBILITY at Burbage Theatre Company

Running through December 11

Sense & Sensibility, Rhode Island Premiere, Burbage Theatre runs through December 11. For tickets go to WWW.BURBAGETHEATRE.ORG

When it comes to Jane Austen, it's typically a love-hate relationship. My wife, so deep into the former category, worried how I would take Burbage's Rhode Island Premiere of Austen's SENSE & SENSIBILITY since I am not as familiar with Austen's work. But, in the end, she had little to worry about.

While the play stayed mostly true to the famous movie, Kate Hamill's wonderfully satirical version cast aside some of the seriousness, injecting silliness at many a turn that made this production a joy to watch. Let's face it, we could all use a little bit more humor these days and I wasn't expecting it, which is the best part. Fresh off her acclaimed performance in JUNK, Catia Ramos wonderfully portrays the stoic elder sister Elinor while accompanied by fellow sisters Marina Tejada as Marianne and Sofia DaSilva as Margaret, a trifecta of incredible actors that make this wonderfully diverse play a legitimate hit.

The play follows the Dashwood sisters after their father's recent death leaves them penniless and socially vulnerable. Set in the obnoxiously gossipy late 18th century, Austen's typical class and reputation struggle is on full display in the play that also counters with a good level of humor and emotional depth. This faster pace, far more humorous version is way more entertaining than the movie-sorry, it just is! Sure, there are some things that are just over the top funny (like scene change signs depicting "a few weeks later" like a 1980 Tough Man contest would announce a change of boxing rounds). And there's no British accents in this performance, another huge plus for my side.

Besides the Dashwood sisters, other members of the cast took on numerous, pivotal roles, including males transforming into women and vice versa and more so amazingly quick that you find your mind trying to catch up to who exactly is in front of you as they all scramble in and out of the stage. Aaron Blanck is phenomenal as Mrs. Dashwood/Annie, fresh with a scruffy-bearded face, with Michael Greene as Edward/Mrs. Ferrars, Michael Thibeault as Colonel Brandon/Thomas, Jack Clarke as Willoughby/John Dashwood and Omar Laguerre-Lewis as Sir John/Doctor/Servant, all top-shelf performances trading humor for depth at a moment's notice. Rounding out the incredible cast includes Daria Montaquila as Fanny/Gossip, Mary Mullane as Lucy/Gossip and Tanya Martin as Mrs. Jennings.

As is typical of Burbage, the performance is so close to you, you can reach out and touch any of the actors (one of them actually hit my foot running into the scene, which was super cool). It's just a wonderfully intimate performance of a wonderfully intimate book but with so much great humor thrown in that you get caught up in this modernized version that still worked hard to keep the essential Austen feel intact. I think it's a great compromise that makes the performance more suitable to everyone and not just Austen fans. That's just a great thing to behold!

photo by Maggie Hall.

Patrons must wear masks in the theatre at all times despite vaccination status.


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From This Author - Jay Pateakos

Jay Pateakos has been a newspaper journalist since the late 1990’s, branching off into theatre reviews more than 10 years ago, reviewing more than a hundred plays for the Herald News and Cape... (read more about this author)


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