Theatre Review: Sense & Sensibility


Presented by the State Theatre Company of South Australia
Reviewed 08 May 2018

Photo credit: Chris Herzfeld

“If a book is well written, I always find it too short.” Jane Austen’s infamous words find new meaning in the State Theatre Company’s bold production of Sense & Sensibility, adapted by Kate Hamill. Though running to a longer than expected time, every second is absolutely earned, and packed full of rich and uproarious dialogue and vibrant performances. Sense & Sensibility is utterly charming.

Hamill’s script retains Austen’s vision of the British landed gentry, and turns it up to eleven. Gossip and scandal are rife here, and this is conveyed excellently through Geordie Brookman’s direction. Every door and wall conceals an ardently listening ear, and coupled with some superb performances from the State Theatre Company Ensemble, this makes for a truly living and breathing world. Ailsa Paterson’s chocolate-box set is beautiful, and well matched by Geoff Cobham’s lighting design.

Photo credit: Chris Herzfeld

It is clear from the get-go that the cast are having a dizzingly good time. Anna Steen and Nathan O’Keefe play off each other marvellously as Elinor and Ferrars, while Rachel Burke imbues her infectious charm to Margaret and Lucy Steele. The true gem in this production is Miranda Daughtry, who fits the Austen heroine mould perfectly as Marianne. The relationship she shares with Steen’s Elinor is touching, and infuses every small drawing room scene they share with an unspoken history. There is one particular moment that speaks to the sisterly bond they share, as one tramples determinedly through an oncoming storm while the other wills her to safety with a soft piano song (Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill, which gave me more than a little thrill).

As far as last shows go, this is a true knockout, and a deserved final bow for the State Theatre Company Ensemble. And, as good plays are, far too short.

Reviewed by CJ McLean
Twitter: @cjmclean_

Venue:  Dunstan Playhouse
Season:  Fri 4 May – Sat 26 May
Duration:  2.5 hrs, including 20min interval
Tickets:  $70 Adult, $64 Concession, $38 Under 30s, $64 Groups 10+



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