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Review: Sense and Sensibility at Newcastle People’s Theatre

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Society Comes To Peoples Theatre

Sense and Sensibility
by Jane Austen (adapted by Jessica Swale)
Newcastle People’s Theatre
Until Saturday 28th May 2016

Period drama is very popular on television and indeed a healthy turn out had come out on a Thursday night to enjoy the show. Jane Austen’s classic tale, first published in 1811, of courtship in a romantic time will appeal to the followers of Downton Abbey.

The story starts with the death of Mr Dashwood who has sought a promise from his son that his wife and daughters will be cared for after his passing. Unfortunately John (Jake Wilson Craw) is quickly persuaded by his greedy wife Fanny (Alison Carr) to not only reduce the agreed annual allowance but also to evict them from their home.

Photo: Paula Smart
Mrs Dashwood (Karen Elliott) struggles to get a reality check on a lifestyle without 12 servants and a 4 figure income stream. The family move to a simple cottage in Devon with a single servant to establish their new life. She has 3 daughters. Elinor Dashwood is a sensible, caring eldest daughter who soon catches the eye of Fanny Dashwood’s brother Edward (Richard Priday). The middle daughter, Marianne Dashwood (Geffen Yoeli-Rimmer) is strong minded and expressive  lover of poetry who is quickly sought by 2 suitors. The straight-laced Colonel Brandon (David Parker) and the dashing Willoughby (Sam Hinton) have to weave through societies conventions to catch her eye.

The youngest daughter is the wonderful Margaret Dashwood (Ruth Gibson), who is much more into collecting bugs from the garden than messing around with men.

Photo: Paula Smart
The story moves around the country and the girls’ fortunes are not helped by the society gossips and matchmakers. This includes the fabulous larger than life Mrs Jennings (Helga McNeil) who seems to be pairing the girls off at each opportunity.

The ensemble work well together. The daughters are delightful and the suitors are dashing. The costumes, designed by Dianne Edwards, are bright and colourful.

Photo: Paula Smart
The number of characters has been trimmed down from the original book and that leaves behind a coherent and enjoyable period stage production.  Director Kate Wilkins takes advantage of Stuart Taylor and Kate Wilkins split set to enable events to happen in two places at once. The situations are allowed to have their comedic moments. The only issue is that the characters can become stereotypes by the way they respond but that is probably more about the source material than the way the show was produced.

Sense And Sensibility is a charming period drama with numerous light hearted moments that will appeal to fans of the genre.

This review was written by Stephen Oliver for Jowheretogo PR ( Follow Jo on twitter @jowheretogo, Stephen @panic_c_button or like Jowheretogo on Facebook

Sense and Sensibility
by Jane Austen comes to the People’s Theatre in Newcastle from Tuesday 24th to Saturday 28th  May 2016 at 7.30pm
Tickets:      £13.50 (Concessions £11)
Box Office: 0191 265 5020 and

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