Higher Ground, Light Square
Reviewed Sunday February 21st 2010 (See Fringe guide for dates, times, etc.)
Presented by Guy Masterson’s Centre for International Theatre and Theatre Tours International.
Bookings: Fringetix & Venuetix outlets
If you love the works of that epitome of romantic novelists, Jane Austen, then you will most certainly not want to miss this production. If, on the other hand, you thought that Mrs. Norris was merely a caretaker’s cat in a castle where magic is taught, then you are in for a terrific surprise when you discover who she really was. Either way, you will love this work as Rebecca Vaughan, under the acute direction of Guy Masterson, superbly brings to life a diverse cross section of Austen’s fascinating characters in rapid succession.
Fourteen of the women are represented, with every word taken from Austen’s novels, a narrator linking scenes with lines taken from a range of her writings. With only a minimal change of costuming Vaughan, who also wrote the script, slips easily and seamlessly between each of the characters in a glorious parade of quirky personalities.
There is great humour in Austen’s writing and Vaughan teases out all of the subtleties in the words spoken by each of these often flawed characters. It is interesting that, even though the men are not actually represented, their presences are often felt, sometimes very strongly, as the women constitute themselves through the men with they are, or wish to be involved.
Vaughan’s performance is a tour de force and it is clear to see how much she loves each of her characters in her committed performances and understanding of their personalities and foibles. Austen would be thrilled to see how alive and exciting her characters are so many years later, still fresh and relevant in the hands of this marvellous performer.
Producer/director/actor, Guy Masterson, has established a reputation for bringing the very highest quality theatre to Adelaide Fringes over the years and this production, one of eight that he had brought us this year, is certainly worthy of that title. This is ‘must see’ theatre this Fringe.
Reviewed by Barry Lenny, GLAM Adelaide Arts Editor.