Miss Bennet Christmas at Pemberley is back at the Jungle after a delightful run two years ago, and has proven itself once again to be a must see of the holiday season. The play by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon, is a fun and comedic follow up to Pride and Prejudice (fear not if you are not familiar with the novel, it is not required to follow the play).The show centers on the middle Bennet sister, Mary. She is a character who fades into the background in Austen's novel but now in Gunderson and Melcon's play she is more mature. Two years after the events of Pride and Prejudice Mary is now a virtuoso on the piano forte and filled with fascinating facts from all her reading. She is filled with a wry sense of humor and no one really seems to appreciate until a new character Arthur de Bourgh comes to Pemberley to celebrate Christmas. The play finds many of the beloved characters from Austen's Pride and Prejudice reunited to celebrate Christmas. From Lizzy and Darcy to Jane and Bingley and even the flirtatious Lydia. It is so much fun to see beloved characters come to life on stage along with new characters such as Arthur de Bourgh. Watching the show is like seeing the best fan fiction come to life.
The cast of the currently production is filled with extremely talents actors, some of who were in the show two years ago, some who were in Miss Bennet's companion piece the Wickhams which played at the Jungle last year and some who were new faces to me. They all worked together well to create the world on the stage. Christian Bardin is back as Mary and she masterfully delivers Mary's dead pan sense of humor. Resse Britts plays Arthur, he is a relatively new face in town but his making his talents known quite quickly. His comic timing in Miss Bennet Christmas at Pemberley delivers the laughs while his sincerity tugs at your heart strings.
At the end of the show my husband, who from my original plot summary of "it is the characters from Pride and Prejudice two years later...at Christmas!" was not interested in the show, turned to me and said enthusiastically "So when can we see the next one!" He was referring to the Wickhams a companion piece to Miss Bennet that played at the Jungle last year and was just as delightful. As much as I love experiencing new theater at this time of year it is lovely to settle in to something that you know if going to be delightful and will leave you feeling happy. I selfishly wish that the Jungle will make Miss Bennet and the Wickhams a holiday tradition in much the same way that The Christmas Carol is a holiday tradition at the Guthrie.
Miss Bennet Christmas at Pemberley is playing at the Jungle Theater until December 29th. It is a show that is a perfect for anyone who likes to laugh or is looking for some delightful lightness this holiday season. Click here for more information about the show and how to get tickets.
*Photo credit: Dan Norman