Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

July 11, 2011


Chester Theater, Chester, MA
through July 17, 2011
by Robbin M. Joyce

How great would it have been to have a Smartphone years ago when slogging through the dreaded list of required reading in high school? Writing essays, book reviews, reports and term papers would have been a breeze; perhaps even enjoyable.

Sitting in the audience of Chester Theater Company's presentation of pride@prejudice was almost like having that information available. Daniel Elihu Kramer delights the sold-out house with his adaptation of Jane Austin's novel, Pride and Prejudice. He carefully culls the important scenes from her storyline and cleverly interjects them with commentary, exposition, letters by Austin, questions from the audience and even some web-surfing and chat room conversations.

The five cast members -- Aubrey Saverino, Gisela Chipe, Jay Stratton, Michele Tauber and Colin Ryan -- all move among 30 characters with ease and aplomb. Despite the fact that Jay Stratton, for instance, plays both Mr. Darcy and Mr. Collins, the audience never for a moment is confused about which of Elizabeth's suitor is which. Indeed, we see all the major characters, several minor ones, the author herself and a plethora of frustrated high school and college students.

This is a delightful production and one not to be missed. It breathes new life into a beloved story, and very well could inspire a re-reading of the novel. The only question left unanswered is the nature and outcome of Austin's relationship with Tom Lefroy. Perhaps we should Google it.