sat 25/05/2024

Jane Austen

Northanger Abbey, Orange Tree Theatre review - larky retelling of Austen’s satire with a poignant core

What Zoe Cooper has concocted in her loving rewiring of Jane Austen’s first completed novel looks at first sight like a knockabout satire of a satire. But her aim is more sober than that: a queer rereading of this text as she first experienced it as...

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Mansfield Park, RNCM, Manchester review - bringing out the best

Mansfield Park was written to be a country house opera – that kind where you have a smallish number of performers, no chorus, and the “set” is simply the rooms and furnishings of a gracious residence from an age gone by.Accompaniment was originally...

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Persuasion, Alexandra Palace Theatre review - graphic-novel-style Austen

Jane Austen’s waspish vision revealed the vanities, delusions and cynical financial calculations that underpinned most of the relationships of her day. The element in which she thrived was repression; the heart constrained beneath the corset, the...

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Pride & Prejudice* (*sort of), Criterion Theatre review - bursting with wit, verve, and love

“We haven’t started yet!” Hannah-Jarrett Scott, dressed in Doc Martens under a 19th-century shift, reassures us as she attempts to dislodge a yellow rubber glove from a chandelier in the middle of the set of Pride & Prejudice* (*sort of)....

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Being Mr Wickham, Original Theatre Company online review - an uncontroversial apologia

It wasn’t Jane Austen’s subtlest move, naming her roguish soldier George Wickham. As countless GCSE English teachers have patiently read in generations of essays, his surname sounds a lot like "wicked" – and wicked he is. Adrian Lukis, who played...

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The Watsons, Menier Chocolate Factory review - Laura Wade's inventive new play

What a joy Laura Wade's latest play is. Transferring from its successful run at the Minerva Theatre at Chichester last year, The Watsons is developed from Jane Austen's unfinished novel (started in 1804 and abandoned the following year). But rather...

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'In order to write my book I had to kill Jane Austen'

My heroine would not have appeared in a Jane Austen novel. Brilliant, arch and incisive though Austen was – as deft in dissecting the economics of romance as in laying bare the lies told by the human heart – for better or worse, she still sent all...

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'Fanny Price’s pained silences gave me the impulse to write music for her'

When I first read Mansfield Park, some 30 years ago, I heard music. That doesn’t always happen when I read, and it certainly didn’t happen when I read other novels by Jane Austen. There is something about this particular book that provoked musical...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Love & Friendship

“For a husband to stray he is merely responding to his biology. But for a woman to behave in a similar way is ridiculous, unimaginable. Just the idea is funny.” This unwitting strapline issues from the boobyish Sir James Martin towards the end of...

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Love & Friendship

Jane Austen’s early novel-in-letters Lady Susan has more in common with Vanity Fair or even Les Liaisons Dangereuses than it does with the author’s mature works. Austen’s familiar wit is there, certainly, but sharpened from embroidery needle to...

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” Miss Bennet has been a busy Lizzy. In recent years she's popped up in a British Bollywood setting (Bride and Prejudice) and in the present...

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Death Comes to Pemberley, BBC One

At the time a mere 90 years old, detective novelist PD James raised literary eyebrows in 2011 with the publication of Death Comes to Pemberley, a crime-based sequel to Pride and Prejudice. Deftly recognising that Jane Austen’s popular romance had,...

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