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The Crimson Playgoer

"Pride and Prejudice" Maintains The Standard Of Excellence Usual in Theatre Guild Plays


The conventions of love-making have suffered many severe jolts since the period of Jane Austen's sentimental novel, "Pride and Prejudice." For the demure and innocent young lass of the 18th century, to be kissed was to be as good as married. Young men of today are bolder, and young ladies far less scrupulous. To enjoy the play version of "Pride and Prejudice" fully we advise that after you have completely relaxed in your leather-backed chair at the Colonial, forget all the progress of the last two centuries in the mating arts, and reduce your idea of the animal, woman to a mere bundle of hovering, pent-up passion, afraid to let herself loose.

It would seem that the Renaissance of Women is but a recent phase in the trend of history, Jane Bennet, the beauteous daughter of a country-squire Bennet, and one of three sisters, nearly pines to death over a lost love in a manner that highly smacks of "days of old and knights of yore. In marked contrast the modern girl would never permit so much as a frown to belie the sorrow and chagrin within her. Sister Elizabeth, as played by Muriel Kirkland, is a far more sensible and sophisticated young woman. She, together with her rattle-brained, match-designing mather and the bloated Lady Catherine de Bourgh, are perhaps the only female characters noticeably touched by the Renaissance of Women, characters whom we might encounter at any time on the street today and number among our acquaintances.

This rather adverse comparison of the 1760's to our day should not be construed as a complaint against, or a fault of Jaue Austen's novel and its dramatization by Helen Jerome. In the light of its own day it is a very pleasant sentimental comedy, and, after all, we must judge it from that angle. The cast, though not phenomenal by any means, does a definitely satisfactory job. Robert Conness as the beefy-complexioned country gentleman, Mr. Bennet, handles his three twittering daughters and their erratic mother in the masterful fashion of a staid old Englishman. His wife, played by Molly Pearson, is the perfect simple-minded, scheming mother whose sole aim in life is to see her daughters married off before it's "too late". Lowell Gilmore epitomizes the title, "Pride and Prejudice", in his role of the tremendously aloof Mr. Darcy.

In our life at the theatre, it has never been our experience to find ourselves "let down" by any Theatre Guild performance. "Pride and Prejudice" is no exception. It is bound to please, if you take care to discount in advance the wit of an earlier day and charge it up to atmosphere.

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