Pride and Prejudice – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

Do you consider romance and love a complicated game of rules and manners? If so, Playhouse on Park in West Hartford has a delightful and enchanting exploration of the topics perfect for your enjoyment until Sunday, March 8. You don’t want to miss this romp into Jane Austen’s Victorian world. Her novel “Pride and Prejudice” has been moved to the stage and you’re invited to take your dance card to the ball.

This adaptation by Kate Hamill captures the milieu of the author and spins it on its humorous and heartbreaking head with an affectionate lack of concern. Come meet Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, who are blessed or cursed with four daughters and not one son to inherit the estate. Therefore when papa dies, they may find themselves homeless, without a satiny place to rest their heads. Unless , of course, Mrs. Bennet, a fluttery and overwhelmed Maia Guest, fails in her mission to find a wealthy mate for at least one of her darling offspring.

Unfortunately, Mr. Bennett, a preoccupied in his newspaper Sophie Sorensen, fails to join his wife in her prediction of doom. Fortunately, however, some eligible suitors have newly arrived in the neighborhood, any of whom would provide the funding to save the family “farm.”

While daughter Lizzy, a level headed Kimberly Chatterjee, declares she will never marry, the eldest and prettiest one, Jane, Nadezhda Ame,immediately finds favor with Mr. Bingley, a wealthy and proper Jane Bradley. Have you noticed yet that the genders are mixed up and roles are frequently reversed?

For the resolute Lizzie, she more than meets her match with Mr. Darcy, an equally stubborn but desirable Nicholas Ortiz. The dance floor is crowded with potential gentlemen like Mr. Collins and Mr. Wickham, both captured by Matthew Krob, who also manages to create a fervor as Miss Bingley. Mary Bennet, a music playing and sermon spouting Jane Bradley, is in direct contrast to her youngest sister, a flighty and adorable Lydia, Kelly Letourneau, who also manages to become the aristocratic and autocratic Lady Catherine.

Nineteenth century England has never been more entertaining and worthy of a welcome, thanks to an excellent cast, great contemporary choreography set to modern music by Joey Beltre, and intriguing direction by Jason O’Connell.

For tickets ($27.50-40.00), call Playhouse on Park, 244 Park Road, West Hartford at 860-523-5900, ext. 10, or online at Performances are Tuesday at 2 p.m., Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.and Sunday at 2 p.m. Browse at a selection of Austen titles courtesy of River Bend Books in the lobby.

Witness the matchmakers pedal their wares, seeking to find suitable mates for all the available partners who may or may not wish to marry, yet find themselves at the church house doors.