Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE at Cygnet Theatre

Review: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE at Cygnet Theatre

As surely as it is known that "it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife", it is also a universal truth that PRIDE AND PREJUDICE will be portrayed with the stiff formality of prior Austen adaptations - it's the law. Thankfully, the Kate Hamill adaption now playing at the Cygnet Theatre through June 16th takes all of the starch out of the proceedings and adds in a bit of zany fun instead.

This is not a P&P for the purists. If the idea of playing this story anything but ramrod straight gives you the vapors then this may not be the show for you. This talented comedic cast takes the reins and runs, with some additional interjections with modern music and dance to keep the audience guessing.

No worries, the same characters and story are all there. Elizabeth (Jacque Wilke) is still set against marriage, while her lovely and mild older sister Jane (Joy Yvonne Jones) has caught both the eye and the heart of the wealthy and eligible bachelor Mr. Bingley (Kevin Hafso-Koppman). It's Bingley's friend Darcy (Steven Lone) who will ultimately win Lizzie's heart, but they both have to get over themselves a bit before that can happen.

Mrs. Bennet (Shana Wride) is the always semi-hysterical mother versus her more logical and calm husband (Adrian Alita). They each disagree on goals for their girls, Jane, Elizabeth, Lydia (Michelle Marie Trester), and Mary (also Hafso-Koppman).

Before everything can be wrapped up in a happy ending, there are annoying cousins, snobby society matrons, rakes in military uniforms, and many miscommunications. Of course there's all that pride and prejudice the main characters have that need to be addressed as well.

Wilke's Elizabeth has is no wilting flower who stands up to Lone's Darcy, and isn't afraid to speak her mind to him, nor is she won over by typical society wealth and status symbols. Wilke tempers Elizabeth's tart tongue with her obvious love for her family, though they may drive her mad at times. As Darcy, Lone succeeds in keeping him charming as well as the ultimate straight man to all of the characters around him running around expressing their emotions and opinions all of the time.

Wride and Trester are truly a comedic, dynamic duo, bringing both the characters of Mrs. Bennet and Lydia to life not only with such humor, but manage to add depths to the characters that usually are not there. This might very well be the first time I've found these characters endearing in their insane and overdramatic ways.

The ensemble plays many roles, and the changes happen fast and furiously (mostly on stage) adding to the heightened pace and energy of the comedy. Jake Millgard covers three roles including the pretentious preacher Collins, and the dastardly Wickam; but honestly won my heart as the judgmental and pretentious Caroline Bingley. Trester brings the daunting Lady Catherine to life, while Jones channels her equally judgey daughter Anne, and Alita makes a sweet Charlotte (beard and all). Hafso-Koppman brings a whirlwind of energy and madness to Mary, the sister the family keeps trying to forget as they all deal with their problems.

Directed by Rob Lufty the comedy moves quickly and with intensity. Choreography by Michael Mizerany to songs from Madonna, The Pointer Sisters, and Cyndi Lauper to name a few, keep everything fun and mix the older with the more modern. The set by Sean Fanning allows for all of the quick changes, zany entrances and exits, and madcap mischief.

Don't get me wrong, the 8 hour BBC adaption that introduced the world to Colin Firth as the Darcy to measure all future Darcy's against is still a classic in my opinion. However, it's nice to see the aura of pomp and primness that usually surrounds this piece being pierced and allowing the entertaining social criticism shine through as a comedy.

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE is playing at the Cygnet Theatre through June 16th in Old Town. For performance times and tickets please go to www.cygnettheatre.com

Photo Credit: Jacque Wilke, Steven Lone - Photo by Karli Cadel Photography



Review: Tarmo Peltokoski Makes His U.S. Debut with The San Diego Symphony Orchestra at the Photo
What did our critic think of TARMO PELTOKOSKI As He MAKES HIS U.S. DEBUT WITH THE SAN DIEGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA at Southwestern Colleges Performing Arts Center? We seem to be going through an unprecedented flood of young conducting talent. Finnland's Tarmo Peltokoski is an example. At 22 his recent-college-grad looks make it difficult to believe that he is the conductor or principal guest conductor of four European symphony orchestras. I attended the second of back-to-back performances in his U.S. debut with the San Diego Symphony and am now convinced that much of the hype is warranted.

Backyard Renaissance Announces The Cast of Yasmina Rezas GOD OF CARNAGE Photo
In 2015, Backyard Renaissance's (BYR) first production out-of-the-gate was very much a couple-thing. Helmed by Director Lisa Berger and starring her husband Mike Sears, BYR founders, husband-and-wife team Francis Gercke and Jessica John, produced and co-starred in the production of Jez Butterworth's Parlour Song.

La Jolla Playhouse to Host 6th Latinx New Play Festival in October Photo
 La Jolla Playhouse will host the sixth Latinx New Play Festival on October 27 – 29, 2023, produced by Dr. Maria Patrice Amon, the Playhou

Poetry Out Loud to Host San Diego Regional Finals on Monday Photo
Write Out Loud, will present POETRY OUT LOUD, a national poetry recitation competition for high school students. San Diego Regional Finals take place this year on February 6th at 6:30pm.


From This Author - E.H. Reiter


Review: THE NOTEBOOKS OF LEONARDO DA VINCI at The Old GlobeReview: THE NOTEBOOKS OF LEONARDO DA VINCI at The Old Globe
January 28, 2023

THE NOTEBOOKS  OF LEONARDO DA VINCI at The Old Globe brings a visually sumptuous peek into the mind of a creative genius.  The production is so much more than a play; it is art, movement, dance, math, and philosophy all brought to life on stage.

Review: RIPPED at Loud Fridge Theatre Group Is an Excellent and Nuanced Look at Sexual ConsentReview: RIPPED at Loud Fridge Theatre Group Is an Excellent and Nuanced Look at Sexual Consent
January 23, 2023

Loud Fridge Theatre Group started off its 2023 theatrical year with an excellent and thoughtfully nuanced look at a sexual assault on a college campus.  RIPPED from Loud Fridge Theatre Group is playing through February 5th at OnStage Playhouse.

Interview: Directors Kate Rose Reynolds & John Wells III Talk RIPPED at Loud Fridge Theatre GroupInterview: Directors Kate Rose Reynolds & John Wells III Talk RIPPED at Loud Fridge Theatre Group
January 21, 2023

Interview with RIPPED directors Kate Rose Reynolds and John Wells III, about working together as joint directors, and why this play is more topical than ever as it explores from multiple angles an incident of a female college freshman who believes she was sexually assaulted. 

Interview: Lauren Nicole Chapman brings Arendelle to the San Diego Civic Theatre in FROZENInterview: Lauren Nicole Chapman brings Arendelle to the San Diego Civic Theatre in FROZEN
January 17, 2023

Lauren Nicole Chapman plays Princess Anna, who is arguably one of the most popular royals ever, so, of course, we took a moment to chat with her - because no one turns down the chance to interview a Disney princess.  Chapman and the entire talented cast bring Arendelle and FROZEN  to the San Diego Civic Theatre through Broadway San Diego January 18th - 29th. 

Interview: Playwrights Gingerlily Lowe And Daryl ”Scooter” Davis talk about their plays at the CELEBRATING COMMUNITY VOICES at The Old GlobeInterview: Playwrights Gingerlily Lowe And Daryl ”Scooter” Davis talk about their plays at the CELEBRATING COMMUNITY VOICES at The Old Globe
January 10, 2023

Playwrights Gignerlily Lowe and Daryl ”Scooter” Davis talk about their plays and being a part of the CELEBRATING COMMUNITY VOICES presentation, a part of the upcoming 10th annual Old Globe Powers New Voices FestivalJan 13 - 15, 2023.