Sunday, July 11, 2010

Can You Go Wrong with Jane Austen and Shakespeare on the Same Day? Play #4

Yesterday was a bit of a "relax" day for Eileen and I. We didn't have any sight-seeing planned so we had a late morning breakfast at IHop (what is a trip without at least once having breakfast at IHop?), came back to the Hotel at read by the pool for a while before it was time to go to our last play which was in the afternoon.
Yes, this is me with my Jane Austen action figure!  Is that cool or what????

….I interrupt this post with an emergency request. PLEASE contact the Festival here and let them know not to get rid of the LEMON TARTS for next year!!! They were taking a survey when we went to our play today to see which flavor should be dropped for next year. The lemon tarts are our favorites, and trust me, they are the best. So even if you don’t plan on EVER coming to the Utah Shakespeare Festival, please email them at:

PLEASE HELP US SAVE THE LEMONE TARTS!! Vote to get rid of the cream cheese tarts, YUCK!!!

Now back to our review…

Yesterday was also our last play and we thought we would save the best for last. The play was “Pride and Prejudice”, by Jane Austen. Last year when we found out that this particular play was going to be done we thought, “What could be more perfect, Jane Austen and Shakespeare altogether?” So we were very excited to see this play! So maybe that was part of the problem.
Us, with my Jane Austen action figure awaiting the play!

Let me begin by saying that we did enjoy this play but not as much as we expected. It IS worth seeing. The set was really beautiful and worked well with the show. Costumes were great, and all the actors gave really good performances. There were 2 standout performances. The best was Mrs. Bennet played by Ellen Crawford. Mrs. Bennet really has the best lines and is the most comical character in this play and in the book of “Pride and Prejudice”. Therefore it is EXTREMELY important to have a believable Mrs. Bennet and Crawford played her superbly! Even if it was just a facial expression, she had the audience laughing.
Brian Vaughn as Hamlet

The second best performance was, of course, Brian Vaughn as Mr. Collins. He played him perfectly. He had the awkward “holier than thou” attitude down to a tee! His social ineptitude also made you laugh at him while also being embarrassed for him for being so clueless! Vaughn also included enough annoying quirks as Mr. Collins that made him quite comical. He was fun to watch. Mr. Bennet (Jeff Steitzer) was also good and the 2 younger daughters, Kitty and Lydia were very silly which was fun and expected. The rest of the cast did very well and the story moved along quite nicely.

There were just a couple of things we did not like. Now I realize that this may have been because we both REALLY love this book, but we felt that Elizabeth was not portrayed in this play as the fun-loving, intellectually active character as she is in the book. Her sparing with Darcy seemed more like she was looking for a fight, instead of teasing him to point out his follies.

The other things were didn’t like was more a script problem than a performance problem. When Darcy first proposed to Elizabeth Bennet, the most famous line of this scene (at least in mine and Eileen’s opinion) was left out. We kept waiting for Lizzie to say,

``You are mistaken, Mr. Darcy, if you suppose that the mode of your declaration affected me in any other way, than as it spared me the concern which I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentleman-like manner.''

That line is almost as important and well-known as the opening lines of…”It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” This line WAS in the play.

The second problem we had with the script was near the end when Mr. Bennet was questioning Lizzie about accepting Mr. Darcy’s proposal. Elizabeth told her father how they were indebted to Mr. Darcy for “saving” Lydia’s, and therefore, the families reputation. You really felt that this was the main reason she wanted to marry Mr. Darcy, and not because she loved him dearly. But like I said, those two problems were script problems, but we felt that anyone that really “knew” Austen’s “P&P” would have changed these two oversights.

Mixed review???

So our review is YES, go see this play but be prepared if you know the book too well.

This was our last play but we ended the day with a great Western BBQ dinner at a new restaurant in town that was located in renovated train station called "Old West Smokehouse". YUMMY! Then we went back to the festival to buy our last tarts from our favorite tart guy, Stephen, and back to the Hotel to watch BBC’s “North and South”. YES!!!!!

Shakespeare and Austen figures, tart and North and South...can life get any better?

All four glorious hours of it! AWWWW, Richard Armitage!
cutie-patootie Richard Armitage

The perfect end to a fun day!!!
Tomorrow, the trip home and some pictures of the Vermillion Cliffs!  THE most beautiful place in the West!


@jenhalloran said...

So glad to see you're having such a good time! Interesting review; think I'd skip this one in favor of the movie... :-) LOVED the tart plea, too. So funny! Of course I'll vote for *anything* with lemon in it.

Tammy said...

Just saw the "The Impressionists". You should see it. Richard Armitage portrays Claude Monet. Looks like you and Eileen had fun.