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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

Taking liberties

In 2021, London theatergoers got a Pride and Prejudice with interpolated pop songs and an all-female cast. In 2022, they got a Persuasion accessorized with soapsuds. And now they’re being treated to a queer Northanger Abbey featuring “three wryly charming actors deftly chopping and changing roles on a hot-pink stage, with little more than trunks and chandeliers as props,” according to one review. The recent trend of madcap Jane Austen, led by Kate Hamill’s much-produced adaptations, shows no sign of abating.

 

The new NA runs through February 24 at the Orange Tree Theatre in the London suburb of Richmond. According to the reviews—largely positive, if not uncritical (see, for example, here and here)—Austen’s marriage plot has been recast to center a forbidden same-sex romance between Catherine Morland and Isabella Thorpe, her Bath BFF.

 

Playwright Zoë Cooper “smartly uses both what’s in the book and what’s omitted from the book. . . to imagine Cath and Iz in a clandestine relationship that they lack the understanding or social freedom to pursue,” one reviewer notes.

 

All in all, it sounds fun and interesting, if more like Austen fanfic than a faithful version of the novel. But who needs faithful when you can have soapsuds?

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rearadmiral doublezero
rearadmiral doublezero
Feb 15

New T-shirt..."Got Soapsuds?"

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Deborah Yaffe
Deborah Yaffe
Feb 15
Replying to

LOL!

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