As we arrive to take our seats, a beautiful December 1815 holiday set (by Set Designer Eric Flatmo) appears before us. We are in the Pemberley Manor large drawing room and library with a beautiful Christmas tree, stage right, waiting to be lit by Paul Toben, Lighting Designer. Multi-colored lighting is carried through on the centrally-hanging chandelier, and there’s a window seat at rear center stage. As the cast begins the play, we cannot help but be very impressed with the beautiful costumes designed by Callie Floor.
The plot is cleverly laid out in the style of Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice), by Playwright in Residence Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon, head of Marin Theatre’s Development Program.
The Bennet’s are Pemberley Manor houseguests of Elizabeth Darcy (Cindy Im) and Fitzwilliam Darcy (Joseph Patrick O’Malley), and the story imagines a love affair between the young, unattached Mary Bennet (Martha Brigham) and the eccentric (and nervous) Arthur De Bourgh (Adam Magill).
These two confused love birds need all the help they can get before realizing they’re in love. The help is willingly provided by Darcy family Aids Charles Bingley (Tommy Gorrebeeck) and the very pregnant Jane Bingley (Lauren Spencer), although not without appropriately amusing complications.
Erika Rankin is charming as Lydia Wickham, the 3rd Bennet sister (who has made an unhappy marriage but can’t admit to the facts), and Laura Odeh almost steals the show as Anne De Bourgh, daughter of the deceased Catheryn De Bourgh. Certainly, the apple has not fallen far from the tree, however, as the mother is recreated by the daughter in a deliciously comic performance. Miss Mary Bennet also plays the newfangled pianoforte through which she competently expresses so much.
All’s well that ends well in this tale, of course, and there is plenty of Christmas Season magic along the way – from the ambience of a sudden gentle snowfall to the Darcy’s surprised houseguests.
From the Cast of Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley to the Crew, Dialect Coach Jessica Berman, and Dramaturg by Laura A. Brueckner, Director Meredith McDonough has put together a charming Christmas-card production, especially for fans of Pride and Prejudice, and it serves to introduce others to the world of Jane Austen.
Everyone involved in this glorious production should be very pleased and very proud.
Photo Credit: Kevin Berne
Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley began its run at MTC November 29, 2016, and will continue through the December 23, 2016, evening performance, at the home of the Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley.
Remaining Evening Performances: Tuesday through Saturday 7:30 pm
Friday, December 8, 1:00 pm
Saturday, December 17, 2:00 pm
Sundays, December 11 and 18, 2:00 pm
Friday, December 23, 2:00 pm
For tickets, contact Marin Theatre Company at 415-388-5208, or purchase online at email@example.com.
Coming up next at Marin Theatre Company, will be the West Coast Premiere of Native Son by Nambi E. Kelley, directed by Seret Scott, with performances from January 19 through February 12, 2017.
FLORA LYNN ISAACSON