York Theatre Royal until 10th November 2018.
Reviewed by Michelle Richardson
Directed by York Theatre Royal’s Associate Director, Juliet Forster, Sense and Sensibility is the first of several shows from the summer season at Theatre by the Lake to be playing at York. Four plays, ten actors over twelve days.
Sense and Sensibility sees the entire company performing this fresh, comical adaptation of the Austen classic, by Jessica Swale.
Things look bleak for the Dashwood widow and girls when they are cheated out of their inheritance, by her step-son and daughter in law, forced out of their home with little money or prospects. Finding a roof over their heads in Devonshire, the arrival of a dashing stranger promises to change their fortunes forever. But as the saying goes, best laid plans of mice and men, nothing runs smoothly in this tale of love and marriage.
Elinor, played by the very expressive Sarah Kempton is the serious sister, the sensible one, whilst Marianne, played with such passion by Alice Imelda, is more impetuous, artistic and romantic. Both ladies play their romantic leads perfectly and we can feel their angst when their would be relationships flounder. Their younger sister Margaret, played wonderfully childlike by Lydea Perkins, is very much a tomboy, energetic and a bit wild.
The three suitors who create such turmoil within the Dashwood sisters’ lives are, the cad Willoughby, Oliver Mott; shy and awkward, but loveable, Edward, Toby Vaughan; and the reserved smitten Colonel Brandon.
Christine Entwisle is brilliant as the deplorable Fanny Dashwood, callousness running through her veins, before morphing into the over the top, and extremely excitable, Mrs Jennings. Her comic timing and interactions with Sir John, James Duke, were hilarious, both extremely funny.
The whole cast, including Karen Ascoe and Theo Fraser Steele, do an absolutely amazing job, some taking on numerous roles seamlessly with such ease. In a blink of an eye they can be one character and then have taken on a new completely different, but truly believable role.
I thought I would struggle with the 3 hour running time, but that was certainly not the case, it was so engaging that the time flew by. This production was a joy to watch, one for everyone, not just Austen fans. I am so looking forward to catching their other pieces coming up over the next few days and can only hope they are as good as this, which I have no doubt they will be.