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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

Pemberley-at-sea

Although Jane Austen never set sail, her ties to seafaring, forged through the experiences of her two sailor brothers, were close and affectionate. Both Mansfield Park and Persuasion include characters who are Royal Navy men, and some of us (ahem!) think that one of those characters, Captain Wentworth, is her most compelling hero.

 

No doubt all of this explains why the venerable Cunard Line has added an Austen show to the entertainment lineup on its newest cruise ship, the Queen Anne.

 

Pride & Prejudice* (*sort of), described by creator Isobel McArthur as a “version of the original romcom . . .  but told by the servants–with karaoke!” was a hit on the London stage during its 2021-22 run, winning an Olivier Award—London’s equivalent of a Tony—for Best Comedy. It’s performed by a small, all-female cast, some of whom play multiple roles, and updates Austen’s story with a slew of well-known pop songs.

 

The show will tour the English provinces later this year, but in the meantime, you can catch the production during the Queen Anne’s two-week maiden voyage, starting May 24. Included are stops at multiple ports in Britain and Ireland--among them Liverpool, where the ship will be officially named during what Cunard promises will be “a spectacular ceremony.”

 

Adding a light-hearted P&P adaptation to the mix for what the cruise line bills as “The British Isles Festival Voyage” must have seemed like a no-brainer, given that Austen is now comfortably established as an unimpeachable, uncontroversial British brand, on par with tea, scones, and Buckingham Palace.

 

Admittedly, the voyage is a pricey way to see Pride & Prejudice* (*sort of)--the cost of a cabin starts at $1,700 per person and goes way, way up from there. And judging from Cunard’s website, the Queen Anne, with its afternoon teas and spa treatments and fancy boutiques, seems unlikely to offer an authentic Regency Navy experience. Best to think of it as a visit to Pemberley.

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2 Comments


Kylowna Moton
Kylowna Moton
Apr 08

How do you find all of these things?! I love this blog because I think I might never otherwise know the things I learn here.

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Deborah Yaffe
Deborah Yaffe
Apr 09
Replying to

Thank you for reading! And while I'd like to claim that I unearthed this one via intrepid investigative reporting, the fact is that it showed up on my daily Jane Austen Google alert. The service you get from me is weeding through the Austen mentions to give you the best ones. . .

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