Reviewed by Judy Richter
Even though it's not a holiday-themed show, San Jose Repertory Theatre's production of the world premiere of Jon Jory's adaptation of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" has lots of gifts for audiences, starting with Jory's eminently theatrical adaptation of the novel. Jory, whose deft touch also is seen in his direction of the play, focuses on its wit and makes its characters seem eminently real despite the somewhat stilted -- to 21st century ears -- language and customs of early 19th century England.
The gifts continue with the casting of actors who seem tailor-made for their roles. Julia Dion is featured as Elizabeth Bennet, the second-oldest of five unmarried Bennet daughters. She's the most outspoken and independent, but she's also devoted to her parents and sisters. Anthony Marble plays Mr. Darcy, the handsome, rich but aloof, even haughty young man who ultimately wins her heart. The oldest sister, Jane, is portrayed by Krista Hoeppner, who maintains the character's dignity during a not-always-easy courtship by a rich new neighbor, Mr. Bingley, played by the excellent Liam Vincent.
David Pichette is the droll, seemingly unflappable Mr. Bennet, while Peggity Price plays his dithering wife. Other standouts, who play multiple roles, are Remi Sandri, seen as the pompous, garrulous Rev. Collins; Amy Resnick as the catty Miss Bingley and the kindly Mrs. Gardiner; Pat Nesbit as the rudely snobbish Lady Catherine de Bourgh and a helpful housekeeper; and Joe Knezevich as the deceitful Lt. Wickham. Portraying the other three Bennet sisters are Jennifer Erdmann as Lydia, Sarah Roberts as Mary and Adele Bruni as Kitty.
Other gifts to the audience are Robert A. Dahlstrom's handsome, simple set, complemented by Michael Philippi's lighting; Michael Krass' elegant costumes; Peter Ekstrom's refined music; Stephen LeGrand's sound; and Daniel Pelzig's choreography. "Pride and Prejudice" is a co-production with Arizona Theatre Company and Alliance Theatre of Atlanta. San Jose audiences are fortunate to have it for the holidays.