BWW Review: MISS BENNET: CHRISTMAS AT PEMBERLEY is a “Feel-Good” Holiday Spectacle
This month, I had the pleasure of attending Arts Club's production of MISS BENNET: CHRISTMAS AT PEMBERLEY at the Granville Island Stage in Vancouver. Written by playrights Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon, the play features the characters from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice highlighting the love life of the middle Bennet sister: Mary. With her sisters Elizabeth, Jane, and Lydia all together again, Mary is reminded of how she is the only single Bennet sister at the Pemberley this Christmas. Although she takes pride in being on her own, Mary's love life takes an unexpected turn when a guest arrives to spend Christmas with the family. Playing from December 5th to January 4th, this show is perfect for a night out with loved ones during the holidays!
MISS BENNET: CHRISTMAS AT PEMBERLEY was a very "feel-good" show. It contains lovable characters, lots of humor, and brilliant scene transitions. The set designed by Ted Roberts got the audience into the Christmas spirit. My favorite part of it was the glass window behind the Christmas tree that stood centre stage. Beyond the glass window, bright and dark lighting (with the help of some snow) helped keep the story rolling along, as the set did not change throughout the duration of the show.
Overall, this show definitely gave me a Christmas movie vibe. Either than the fact that it mostly took place in the days leading up to Christmas, the spirit, excitement, and transition music really got me excited for the holidays. As expected, with time and set restrictions I felt that I wasn't able to feel as much emotion as I wanted to "relationship-wise" with a lot of the couples, however; I think that the show did a good job of highlighting the sisterly bond the Bennet sisters had with each other. It was really nice to see them lifting each other up when any of them were down.
For someone who isn't a fan of shows where characters fall in love fast or with an unrealistic progression of a relationship, this may not be the show for you. Even though this show was predictable at times, it was still a lot of fun to watch! This was made possible by the talented cast of the show. The play had many interwoven and complicated lines that were delivered without any slip-ups and with lots of expression, passion, and humor (when needed) throughout the show. Kate Dion-Richard as Mary Bennet and Matthew MacDonald-Bain as Arthur de Bourgh gave stand out performances from beginning to end. Dion-Richard's deadpan comedy moments had the audience howling with laughter. She displayed an excellent evolution her of character as she pursued her love interest. Dion-Richard portrayed Bennet with the perfect combination of wit, intelligence, and quirkiness. I loved every minute of it! MacDonald-Bain portrayed de Bourgh with both awkwardness and intelligence, which made his interactions with the other characters fun to watch. I especially loved the "male-bonding" moments he had on stage with Tim Carlson (Charles Bingley) and Chris Walters (Fitzwilliam Darcy). Their banter and interactions with one another were hilarious!
MISS BENNET: CHRISTMAS AT PEMBERLEY was a great Christmas show to see this month. Visiting the Granville Island Stage this holiday season to see this show is the perfect way to spread Christmas cheer!
MISS BENNET: CHRISTMAS AT PEMBERLEY is currently playing at the Granville Island Stage in Vancouver until January 4th, 2020. Tickets start at $29 and are available at https://artsclub.com/shows/2019-2020/miss-bennet-christmas-at-pemberley or by calling the box office at 604-687-1644
Photo Credit: Sarah McNeil, 2019