I am a huge fan of period dramas, obsessively so. When I got a chance to review an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, one of the most renowned and well-loved period novels of all time, at Toronto Fringe I dove into it like an Olympic gold medallist.
Hallie Burt and Kate Werneburg’s play, Elizabeth – Darcy, is high-energy, charming and a delight for admirers of the novel and its numerous TV adaptations. All of our favourite characters, scenes and quotes are there in this production.
A site specific production, the show is set in the historic Campbell House in downtown Toronto. This is the first time Fringe has ever used this venue and I hope it won’t be the last. It adds whole new dimension to the experience as we get to explore the beautiful interior of the house.
This is not a seated performance, the audience moves from room to room following the actors on all three floors. You are often inches away from the actor. This kind of intimacy is a brave thing to do and one that is a very interesting experience.
Burt and Werneburg play a total of 14 characters, switching characters by merely producing a prop such as a fan, handkerchief or headband. The transitions from one character to the next is swift and smooth – there is no doubt these actors and co-adaptors of the novel are talented.
The scenes move quickly from room to room. I wished the show was more paced, the scenes could have simmered longer in each of the rooms, so that we could take it all in. I also felt that those unfamiliar with the story would be lost in the rapid scene shuffles.
Werneburg’s Mrs. Bennett was played to over-dramatic pitch-perfection, just the way she ought to be played. Her portrayal of Mr. Collins, the heir to the Longbourn estate, and Lady Catherine de Bourgh is spot on.
Burt’s enactment of Liz Bennett is both lovely and scathing in her scenes with Mr. Darcy. I loved her Miss Caroline Bingley, so catty!
They both looked like they were having so much fun doing this.
Anyone remotely interested in period novels or movies would really enjoy this show. And Jane Austen fans, book those tickets online, because door tickets sell out in literally five minutes in this 35 audience capacity.
- Elizabeth – Darcy plays at the Campbell House Museum (160 Queen St W)
July 05 08:00 PM
July 06 02:00 PM
July 06 08:00 PM
July 07 02:00 PM
July 07 08:00 PM
July 08 08:00 PM
July 09 08:00 PM
July 10 08:00 PM
July 11 08:00 PM
July 12 08:00 PM
July 13 02:00 PM
July 13 08:00 PM
July 14 02:00 PM
July 14 08:00 PM
Individual Fringe tickets are available at the door for $10 ($5 for FringeKids), cash only. Late comers will not be permitted.
Advance tickets are $11 ($9 + $2 service charge) are available online at fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062 ext 1, or in person during the festival at the Festival Box Office in the parking lot behind Honest Ed’s (581 Bloor St W).
- Value packs are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows.
Photo of Hallie Burt and Kate Werneburg by Sara Morassaei