Pride and Prejudice meets Downton Abbey at Christmas time is alive at the Jungle Theater. The Wickhams, currently playing at the Jungle Theater through December 30th is a world premiere co-commission, a follow up to last year's hit Miss Bennet. It is two years after Pride and Prejudice finished and the entire Bennet family is coming to celebrate Christmas at Pemberley. Last year's Miss Bennet showed the drama that was occurring upstairs, but this year's play takes place downstairs. It is not at all necessary to have seen last year's production to make sense of the plot, but if you did I assure you it will be a pleasure to revisit the Pemberley that has been brought to life by playwrights Margot Melcon and Lauren Gunderson and conjured for us by talented local actors.
Sun Mee Chomet and James Rodriguez are back this year as Elizabeth Darcy and Fitzwilliam Darcy respectively. They have great chemistry and provide familiarity to the well known Austen novel. Kelsey Didion is back this year as well as Lydia Wickham, just as silly as ever but this year Lydia finds more of a backbone as well which is a pleasure to watch. She is joined this year by George Wickham played by Nate Cheeseman who brings all the disgusting charm that you would expect from George Wickham.
Much of the joy of the story is brought by the staff of Pemberley, played by Roshni Desai, Jesse LaVercombe and Angela Timberman. Desai plays Cassie a girl from the village who is just starting at Pemberley. This is the first time that I have seen Desai perform, but I hope to see her on many more of the Twin Cities' stages in the future. LaVercombe plays Brian, who was raised at Pemberley and may have a bit of a crush on Cassie. Timberman plays Mrs. Renyolds, the head housekeeper, who is the glue and heart that keeps Pemberley going.
The Wickhams is a lovely show for Christmas and for the days we are living in. It is a show about compassion, gender equality and finding your own voice. For those who find joy in theater around the holidays as I do, The Wickhams is a must see.
The Wickhams is playing at the Jungle Theater through December 30th. It is a lovely Christmas show sure to please Austen fans. Click here for more informations about the show and how to get tickets.
*Photos by Rich Ryan