Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Connecticut & the Berkshires

Pride and Prejudice
Playhouse on Park
Review by Zander Opper | Season Schedule

Also see Fred's review of Jane Eyre


Nadezhda Amé, Kimberly Chatterjee,
and Sophie Sorensen

Photo by Meredith Longo
Playhouse on Park is presenting a very entertaining production of Pride and Prejudice. Based on the novel by Jane Austen, this stage version has been adapted by Kate Hamill. It is anachronistic at times, with the cast doing the "Hustle" and modern pop songs played during various scenes. The costumes (beautifully designed by Raven Ong) and the decor, however, evoke the early nineteenth century. This dichotomy of old and new does not always work in the first half of the show, but by the more engaging second act, everything comes together wonderfully.

What makes this production succeed is the excellence of the cast. As second eldest daughter Lizzie, Kimberly Chatterjee is very good throughout and, by the conclusion, one can't help but root for her to find romance. As the object of her affection, Nicholas Robert Ortiz makes a good-looking and swaggering Mr. Darcy and is blessed with a fine comic touch. The two actors work terrifically opposite each other.

Also shining is Nadezhda Amé as eldest daughter Jane, able to precisely capture the look and presence of the story's time period. Aside from the actors portraying Lizzie and Mr. Darcy, all the performers play multiple roles, so we see Maia Guest as a commanding Mrs. Bennet, and also in a riotous scene in the beginning of the second act as a hunched-over servant passing out tea cups. Kelly Letourneau has a great deal of fun as youngest daughter Lydia, before making her entrance as the imperious matriarch Lady Catherine. Sophie Sorensen also scores in dual roles, as both Mr. Bennet and the charming friend of the family, Charlotte Lucas.

Matthew Krob makes quite an impression in three different parts, at his best as the religious Mr. Collins with a series of very funny mannerisms and halted speech. The splendid Jane Bradley is a scene-stealer as both Mary Bennet and Mr. Bingley. Mary is the one sister who doesn't seem to get any male attention, and Bradley plays this stern character to the hilt, wringing laughs out of almost every line and moment. But then, as the polar opposite, she is quite believable as Jane's stalwart suitor Mr. Bingley. It is a lot fun to watch the actors make quick costume changes in full view of the audience.

Director Jason O'Connell does a good job staging the show, the set by Randall Parsons is lovely, and there is exceptional lighting by Johann Fitzpatrick.

This Pride and Prejudice gradually wins the audience over and is most successful when played true to the early nineteenth century time period. With director O'Connell keeping things moving at a skillful pace plus numerous stellar performances, the Playhouse on Park production ultimately proves to be joyful and a real winner.

Pride and Prejudice` runs through March 8, 2020, at Playhouse on Park, 244 Park Road, West Hartford CT. For tickets and more information, please visit www.playhouseonpark.org or call the box office at 860-523-5900.


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