WHEN watching a romantic classic such as Pride and Prejudice, there was sure to be an element of audience surprise that the main part of the storyline was omitted from the performance: love.

Love is a key element of Pride and Prejudice but in the stage production brought to The Lowry by Regent Park Theatre, it just was not there.

There was no chemistry between Elizabeth Bennet (Tafline Steen) and Fitzwilliam Darcy (Benjamin Dilloway) – though it appeared believable that they hated each other throughout.

When Darcy confessed his love to Miss Bennet it was so out of the blue that the audience awkwardly laughed at the encounter, with even the kiss scene seeming forced.

What Pride and Prejudice lacked in love, however, it made up for in comedy.

It was refreshing to see a new side to a well-loved classic – it interested the audience and they lapped it up.

Mrs Bennet (Felicity Montagu) and Mr Bennet (Matthew Kelly) certainly stood up to their roles.

The audience was in hysterics when Mrs Bennet climbed up the side of the stairs just to tell her husband off and demand him to fix the situation they were in.

He on the other hand, was trying to sneak away from it all but sadly was unsuccessful.

They both fit the roles perfectly with Mrs Bennet overdramatic and aiming to be of a higher status than she was, while Mr Bennet teased his wife no end.

Miss Bennet was amusing in her own way.

She had an air about her that simply said she had no idea what was going on half the time and frequently broke the fourth wall, giving the audience a bewildered look.

In some cases it felt like she was from a different century to the rest of her family and was confused by the behaviour of them.

This worked at times, but felt out of place at others. The joke was used too often and it set her apart from the rest of them but not in a good way.

Mr Darcy however, was excellent. He really stood up to his role. He was intimidating and very proud. It also helped that he was a giant!

He towered over the rest of the cast and it made his character even more daunting.

Unfortunately, the character wasn’t given enough stage time to really see the transformation that is meant to take place.

He needed more time to show the audience the change of attitude that takes place when he realises that he is in love with Miss Bennet and that his pompous ideas are wrong.

Of course there are cuts to be made but it just felt like the second half was rushed so that they could fit all the scenes in.

The scene between Lady Catherine de Bourgh and Miss Bennet went on for far too long and the time could have been focused on another scene.

Despite the fact these are pretty big issues with the play, it was still undoubtedly enjoyable – it had just the right light-hearted feel to it.

The cast were very good and how they used the stage without changing the background was amazing and creative.

The dinner scene where they spun the stage so you could see the reactions from each of the characters was simply genius.

There has to be a special mention of Steven Meo who played Mr Collins.

His performance really did bring the character from the novel to life.

His eagerness for one of the daughters and how he performed his mannerisms really shone, making him stand out as one of the greatest characters.

This play is definitely geared to an audience who have never seen the film version because it easily grabs your attention with laugh out loud moments.

By Ellen Ward

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