Looking for a charming and funny holiday show to go to this season? Look no further than Miss Bennet Christmas at Pemberley currently playing at the Jungle Theater. If the words “Bennet” and “Pemberley” make you want to run away at thoughts of required high school reading, relax. Although familiarity with the novel Pride and Prejudice may aid in the enjoyment of the show it is by no means necessary. Miss Bennet Christmas at Pemberley is by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon, Gunderson is one of the most produced playwrights in the United States, and I can tell why. I am fairly certain I spent the entire first act with a smile on my face, and the sincere amount lpm (laughs per minute) coming out from the audience rival that of any comedy I have seen on stage or on the screen.
With Miss Bennet we revisit the Bennet sisters a few years after Pride and Prejudice leaves off as the family reunites for Christmas. We get to see all of the sisters, except for Kitty. We are also joined by Mr Darcy and Mr Bingley, Anne de Bourgh, and a new character Arthur de Bourgh. He a bookish man who tries to find his place in the family. The story centers on Mary, the middle Bennet girl, those who know the book will remember for her interest in playing the piano forte and books over her interest in men. She is quite bland in the novel but on stage portrayed by Christian Bardin she absolutely shines. Bardin perfectly captures the essence of Mary, a little more mature since we have last seen her and masterfully delivers her awkward and dead pan sense humor. JuCoby Johnson plays wonderfully against her as Arthur de Bourgh, I’ve seen him in a couple shows in the past but this is my favorite performance of his that I have seen.
The entire show is full of a top notch cast and fantastic performances that show us that the characters that we love from Pride and Prejudice haven’t changed much and are as endearing as ever. Sun Mee Chomet is Lizzie Darcy and captures her fire and whimsy. James Rodriquez is Mr Darcy and is very dashing. Adia Morris is Jane and portrays her warmth and patience wonderfully, Sam Bardwell is Mr. Bingley who years later is still filled with energetic charm. Kelsey Didion is Lydia and can out flirt anyone in the room. Anna Hickey is Anne de Bourgh and is hilariously uptight, and also has an adorable dog.
The stage is wonderfully transformed into the inside of the great house of Pemberley by scenic designer Sarah Bahr. It just continues to show that sets at the Jungle are always top notch.
Miss Bennet Christmas at Pemberley is a wonderful and hilarious show, it fits our holiday season well and is sure to make you laugh.
It is playing at the Jungle Theater until December 30th.
More information about finding tickets can be found by clicking here.
Photo Credit: Dan Norman