Pride and Prejudice at The Lowry (Review)

 

Pride and Prejudice Regents Park Theatre Lowry
Tafline Steen and Benjamin Dilloway as Miss Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy

There was a period of time in my late teens when I discovered Jane Austen.  I remember my welcomingly thick Collins compendium of her works, which still sits in a box of my University books somewhere, waiting for the moment when my two girls are old enough to begin to appreciate them.

Ever since, Pride and Prejudice has been one of my favourite novels.  The journey of Lizzie Bennet as she discovers her love for the distantly brooding Mr Darcy (“Until this moment, I never knew myself” – cue flutterings of the heart!) amidst the surrounding comedy of a highly-strung Mother of 5 girls and the hapless Mr Collins mesmerised and stayed with me.

Last night, I was invited to see Pride and Prejudice at the Lowry in Salford.  The invitation seemed to arrive at just the right time; Pride and Prejudice has influenced so much of our culture, including the fantastic 1995 BBC TV series and the subsequent Bridget Jones series which cast the same Mr Darcy.  I went to see the latest Bridget Jones film featuring Colin Firth’s Darcy just last week – so I feel I’ve had a double dose of Darcy!

The play is a Regent’s Park Theatre adaptation by Simon Reade, with a cast that includes Matthew Kelly as Mr Bennet – played brilliantly (he is so tall!).  We had a few laughs at Mr Bennet’s withering comments to Felicity Montague’s Mrs Bennet.

Pride and Prejudice Regents Park Theatre Lowry
Matthew Kelly as Mr Bennet

It’s hard to top Jennifer Ehle’s Miss Bennet in the 1995 TV production.  However Tafline Steen did a good job.  A little more carefree than the Ehle version, the proposal scenes were nevertheless pleasingly tense, with Benjamin Dilloway’s Darcy delivering his declaration of Elizabeth’s inferiority convincingly.

He didn’t emerge from a pond with a wet shirt at any point in the show, however.

Pride and Prejudice Regents Park Theatre Lowry
Steven Meo as Mr Collins

By far the most enjoyable character to watch last night was Steven Meo’s Mr Collins.  He was just so funny!  His silly dancing – I need to try and emulate this at the next wedding I go to, just for fun.  I could have spent the entire evening watching just Mr Collins.

However, Montague’s Mrs Bennet was a close second.  Clinging to the banister at one point (half way up) in an attempt to convinced the escaping Mr Bennet to force Lizzie to accept Mr Collins’ marriage proposal, she was absolutely hilarious.

I enjoyed the evening and would recommend you go and see Pride and Prejudice. It’s at The Lowry until Saturday 15th October, and further tour dates and venues are listed here (or follow @DarcyOnTour on Twitter).

Outside the Lowry
Outside the Lowry

The Lowry is a great venue, for both adults and children.  It’s easy to get to and is an impressive building, with lots of eating and drinking places.  The play was in the Lyric theatre. it’s spacious, comfortable and we had good stalls seats with a decent view.  We ‘retired’ to the Circle bar in the interval for drinks which is really nice – low lighting, comfortable tables and seats and view of the theatre. I’ve also seen previous shows in the Quays Theatre, which also has a great bar adjacent to it overlooking the Quays.

We’re looking forward to our next trip to the Lowry.  I’ll be looking at what’s on in the next few months and the lead up to Christmas.  I may also re-read Pride and Prejudice!

Disclaimer:  We were invited to watch Pride and Prejudice free of charge.  All opinions are our own.

Room on the Broom Live on Stage at The Lowry (review)

room on the broom live

Yesterday we went to see Room on the Broom Live at The Lowry in Manchester together with my fellow blogger Hodge Podge Days

Those with preschool children may be familiar with the book by Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler.  It’s a simple and engaging tale of a witch and her cat, their broomstick and the animals they meet during an exciting journey to tackle a dragon.

I love The Lowry as a venue.  We’ve previously seen plays and pantomimes here.  The Lowry theatre is spacious and welcoming, the seating comfortable and facilities great.

But also, post-production there’s lots to see and do afterwards, whether it’s shopping, eating in one of many restaurants or simply taking scooters or bikes along the quays.

Room on the Broom Live was a great hit with my girls who are aged 4 and 2.  It’s not easy to keep the attention of children this age, but they were gripped for the full hour or so (I think it was just over an hour).

The production, by the Tall Stories Theatre Company, involved a mix of singing, puppetry and interaction with the audience. My two were singing “Iggety-Ziggety-Zaggety-Zoom” all the way home!

The dog, parrot and frog in the book were represented by the puppets which were cleverly handled by the four actors on stage. My favourite was the Frog, who sang his song in true cowboy style!

My little ones loved the Cat, however, played by Emma McLennan.  She was so funny and bossed the other animals (and the Witch) around brilliantly!

room on the broom live

Afterwards, we scooted around the quays, took a glimpse at the Blue Peter garden in the sun and my girls played in the play area while I had a well-deserved coffee! A brilliant day out!

Disclosure: We were provided with complimentary tickets to Room on the Broom Live by The Lowry.  All opinions expressed are my own.