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Review of Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley at The Jungle Theater, 2017

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Quote of the Day: I’d rather be married to a good plot than to an idiot man. says Mary Bennet in Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, written by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon, directed by Christina Baldwin at The Jungle Theater in Minneapolis, MN through December 30, 2017.  It is a delightful story about the characters we know and love from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, with a new story about the quiet and bookish Mary, and oh, so funny lines. It’s the story of how two book nerds fall in love. 

Mary Bennet (Christian Bardin) and Arthur de Bourgh (JuCoby Johnson) in Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberly at the Jungle Theater. Photo by Dan Norman

Fitzwilliam Darcy (James Rodríguez), Charles Bingley (Sam Bardwell), Jane Bingley (Adia Morris), Mary Bennet (Christian Bardin), Arthur de Bourgh (JuCoby Johnson), Lydia Wickham (Kelsey Didion), Elizabeth Darcy (Sun Mee Chomet) and Anne de Bourgh (Anna Hickey) in Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberly at the Jungle Theater. Photo by Dan Norman

I could identify with Mary (and not just in name). I, too, enjoy getting emotionally involved in a good plot, and have been known to take out my anger, and other emotions, at the piano. “I’m not angry,” says Mary Bennet, “Beethoven is!” I have never had so many genuine laughs during a play. It was a truly delightful, clever, and all around good story. The actors were superb. The set was lovely, and all the sound and lighting effects enhanced the storytelling. I particularly enjoyed the servants (Becca Hart and Guillermo Rodriguez Zermeno) when they came in to decorate and take care of details as they sang sweet, little ditties. 

Mary Bennet (Christian Bardin) and Arthur de Bourgh (JuCoby Johnson) in Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberly at the Jungle Theater. Photo by Dan Norman

Mary Bennet (Christian Bardin) and Arthur de Bourgh (JuCoby Johnson) in Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberly at the Jungle Theater. Photo by Dan Norman

Christian Bardin (Mary) and JuCoby Johnson (Arthur) do socially awkward so well! Their expressions, body language, and line delivery make all their scenes together realistic, delightful, and laugh out loud funny. Kelsey Didion plays a bouncy, ditzy, silly Lydia. Sun Mee Chomet is a cheerful Eilzabeth Darcy who has introduced the German Christmas Tree into the Pemberley home. Adia Morris is a sweet, motherly Jane Bingley, and Anna Hickey is the edgy and demanding Anne de Bourgh. James Rodriguez plays Fitzwilliam Darcy, still dashing and delighted by Elizabeth. Sam Bardwell plays Charles Bingley with charm. This show is brilliantly cast, and directed.

Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon are clever and witty playwrights. (Did you know that Lauren Gunderson was the most produced playwright in 2017?) They have captured the spirit of the Bennet family while creating a new story to experience and love. I hope that The Jungle makes this an annual production. Go see Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley at the Jungle Theater in Minneapolis, MN, through December 30, 2017! It is oh, so delightful, and funny, a Merry Christmas play.

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt: What fictional characters would you like to spend the holidays with?

  1. So agree with your review! Enjoyed every minute of this wonderful show.

  2. I must be the last person on the planet who hasn’t read any Jane Austen. That said, this sounds like a fun, lighthearted play.

    I’d probably enjoy it. Great review!

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