Review: SENSE AND SENSIBILITY is the Latest Play to Cause a Stir in Vancouver

Rumor has it … Arts Club’s latest play has lots of love, but lots of heartbreak

By: Mar. 17, 2023
Review: SENSE AND SENSIBILITY is the Latest Play to Cause a Stir in Vancouver
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It's not easy to find love. It doesn't always come when you want it and can hit you when you least expect it. Arts Club's latest production of SENSE AND SENSIBILITY is a representation of the highs and lows of love. Even though it can be a rollercoaster, it is worth experiencing in the end! Playing at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage from March 2nd to April 2nd, this Modern Stage adaptation of Jane Austen's beloved novel will have you leaning in for more!

Originally programmed for the 2020-2021 Arts Club season, SENSE AND SENSIBILITY finally got to take the stage last week for their opening night in Vancouver. Despite being a story from the 1800s, Kate Hamill's stage adaptation of Austen's novel is a view of it through a more modern lens. Hamill's stage version of SENSE AND SENSIBILITY reinforces the importance of sisterhood and injects a youthful glow to an old complicated love story.

The play focuses on the Dashwood sisters and their life after the death of their father, Mr. Dashwood. With their estate given to their half brother John, 3 sisters: Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret, along with their widowed mother are forced to move to a more modest property in Barton College. It is here where the eldest sisters, Elinor and Marianne, experience love, heartbreak, and betrayal. From meeting new people to reconnecting with those from their past, the sisters find comfort in supporting one another despite the emotional turmoil they experience with the men around them. With Elinor's "sensible" nature and Marianne's "sensitive" nature, the audiences are led through 2 completely different stories that are intertwined at moments of true emotion.

Review: SENSE AND SENSIBILITY is the Latest Play to Cause a Stir in Vancouver

Photo: The cast of Sense and Sensibility, 2023: set design by Shizuka Kai; costume design by Jacqueline Firkins; lighting design by Itai Erdal; photo by Moonrider Productions for the Arts Club Theatre Company

What makes this show so captivating is the relatability of the characters in it. As each sister represents a different aspect of human nature, people often find themselves relating to one character at the beginning and then flip-flopping between the two or relating to both by the end. The two lead actresses, Nyiri Karakas (Elinor) and Amanda Sum (Marianne) effectively represent the "sense and sensibility" approaches to love through their contrasting approaches to their character. Karakas has a very mature way of depicting Elinor. Being rational with very few moments of weakness, Karakas gives off a very strong demeanor on stage. Sum's version of Marianne is very youthful. Although maybe a little too carefree at times, her approach to her character was what the audience needed to see both sides of SENSE AND SENSIBILITY.

The show's running time was approximately 2 hours and 35 minutes with one intermission. Although it was very long and did drag out a bit at times, the long duration of the play allowed for good character development and more intricacies in the plot. Directed by Rachel Peake with sets designed by Shizuka Kai and costumes designed by Jacqueline Firkins, the entire show was put together well. Everything complemented each other and moved everything along very smoothly. The show consisted of a cast of 10 members often playing 3-4 (or more) parts on the stage. It did get confusing at times if you weren't paying attention; however, when it came to the main characters, it was pretty straightforward.

Review: SENSE AND SENSIBILITY is the Latest Play to Cause a Stir in Vancouver

Photo: The cast of Sense and Sensibility, 2023: set design by Shizuka Kai; costume design by Jacqueline Firkins; lighting design by Itai Erdal; photo by Moonrider Productions for the Arts Club Theatre Company

Whether you are a fan of Jane Austen or not, the show was an interesting and worthwhile watch. As the complexities of the subject matter may be more appreciative and easier to follow for more mature audiences, it doesn't mean the show is limited to a certain type of theatergoer. The quality of Arts Club productions is always top notch. Whatever the subject matter, they always deliver a great show. SENSE AND SENSIBILITY is another one to add to that list. Definitely go see it before it closes April 2nd.

SENSE AND SENSIBILITY plays at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Theatre in Vancouver from March 2nd to April 2nd. Tickets start at $35 and are available by clicking the link below.

Showtimes are as followed:

Tue-Thu at 7:30 PM, Fri & Sat at 8 PM, Wed at 1:30 PM, and Sat & Sun at 2 PM

Sunday Salon: Sun, Mar 12, at 7:30 PM

Talkback Tuesday: Tue, Mar 21, at 7:30 PM

VocalEye Performances: Sun, Mar 26, at 2 PM, and Fri, Mar 31, at 8 PM

Top Photo: Sarah Cantuba, Nyiri Karakas, Amanda Sum, and Janet Gigliotti in Sense and Sensibility, 2023: set design by Shizuka Kai; costume design by Jacqueline Firkins; lighting design by Itai Erdal; photo by Moonrider Productions for the Arts Club Theatre Company



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