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Andrew Fallaize as Arthur de Bourgh & Ayana Workman as Mary Bennet. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

MISS BENNET: CHRISTMAS AT PEMBERLEY presented by Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park through Nov. 10. Click here for a synopsis and more information on the production. I attended the opening night performance.

Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park continues its 2018-19 Marx season with an imagined sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. In this production, the focus shifts to the bookish middle Bennet sister, Mary.

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John Ford-Dunker as Charles Bingley, Andrew Fallaize as Arthur de Bourgh & John Keabler as Fitzwilliam Darcy. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Ayana Workman is endearing as Mary Bennet who is struggling to be recognized as the woman she is becoming and not as the young sister who was left behind. Bookish and factually blunt, she finds an intellectual soul mate in Arthur de Bourgh, well-played by Andrew Fallaize. The pair are supported by a strong ensemble. The closeness of the sisters and the connections between the extended family members work well and rang emotionally true.

Director Eleanor Holdridge does a great job of bringing these emotional connections and the humor of the script to the forefront. The production is nicely paced and well-staged. That being said, I did feel that Lydia Wickham was a bit too broad in the first act, coming off a bit more caricature than character. Arthur’s checked exit near the end of the show had him upstage of the set’s columns, blocking him from view for a portion of the audience.

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Ayana Workman as Mary Bennet, Maribel Martinez as Jane Bingley, Marina Shay as Elizabeth Darcy & Mia Hutchinson-Shaw as Lydia Wickham. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Visually the show is stunning thanks to the set design by John Coyne and the costumes design work of Helen Q. Huang. The wigs worked well for the most part although Arthur’s looked, well…like a wig from the audience and held the crease from his hat for most of the show.

Overall, a charming and funny romantic comedy that should appease Austen fans, but is easily appealing to all.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I would enjoy hearing what you think about the show or my review. All I ask is that you express your opinion without attacking someone else’s opinion. You can post your comments below.

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