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Review: Metro Theatre’s Sense and Sensibility attracts new Austen fans

From left to right: Leading actresses Cassie Ledoux (Marianne Dashwood) and Lindsay Nelson (Elinor Dashwood) act out a scene from their play, Sense and Sensibility, based on the story written by Jane Austen. Submitted photo.

Reported by Lauren Boothby

Director Joan Bryans hopes that Metro Theatre’s November production of Sense and Sensibility will please Jane Austen fans, and may draw in new audiences alike.

For their 500th performance, Metro Theatre chose to celebrate with Jane Austen’s classic about the lives of the Dashwood sisters, Marianne and Elinor, who navigate social pressures and search for husbands.

The Austen effect

Bryans, who has been directing for over 20 years, said Austen has a timeless appeal.

“People just love her. Hopefully we can persuade a few more people to see how good she is,” Bryans said.

Bonnie Herron, a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America Vancouver Region, does not need persuasion.

“She’s funny. She’s wicked. She makes you feel better when you’re facing the reality that you [live] everyday in the modern world,” Herron said. “You can always read Jane Austen and everything’s going to be okay.”

Bryans said adapting a novel to theatre can be difficult because there is no change of set.

“It’s very filmic. The scenes move from one to another instantaneously, [and] immediately,” Bryans said of Jon Jory’s adaptation from the book.

Bryans added that she hopes the audience will get wrapped up in the story.

Attracting newcomers

Abel Tewelde may never have read Austen’s books, but enjoyed the play so much he may see the show again a second time.

“The story was really easy to follow,” Tewelde said. “The performances were good and I was captivated.”

Another audience member, Dan Reimer, said what stood out to him the most was the actors’ use of the stage.

“Even though it was the same set, they were constantly able to [utilize] it using sound effects or different aspects of it. They used [the] special awareness that they had to their advantage,” said Reimer.

Published in 1811, Austen’s comedy has lasted generations. Cassie Ledoux, who plays one of the lead characters Marianne Dashwood, said she loves the storyline.

“You take away the accents, you take away the costumes, the way the words are actually put into the script, and how they speak and the manners and everything, and it’s just a love story,” said Ledoux. “Who doesn’t love that?”

The play is being shown until Nov. 19.

1 Comment
  1. Bonnie Herron says

    Thanks, Lauren, for a great review. We JASNA Vancouver members enjoyed meeting you and sharing our love of Jane Austen!

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