Adrian Preater’s Persuasion is everything that an Austen adaptation ought to be.
Persuasion, based on the novel by Jane Austen, tells the story of two young people who fall hopelessly in love… well, what Austen novel doesn’t? Anne Elliot (Emily Lockwood) is persuaded to break off her engagement with Captain Wentworth (Peter Randall), but her affection still stands when he returns from sea eight years later. Will they end up living happily ever after?
It is highly likely.
Adapted by Adrian Preater, this play skillfully takes the comic essence of Persuasion and, with only four actors, offers a satisfyingly accurate and extremely enjoyable interpretation. With live music, brilliant acting and a lot of satire, Adrian Preater’s Persuasion is everything that an Austen adaptation ought to be.
Adrian Preater not only wrote and directed this adaptation, but also appeared as Sir Walter Elliot, as well as other characters. He really drew out the comedy of these characters, and managed to slot into the different roles subtly but very effectively.
Anne Elliot was played by Emily Lockwood, who represented the character perfectly. Her expressions and mannerisms accentuated the comic, satirical attitude of her character and narration; and her chemistry with Captain Wentworth, played by Peter Randall, was excellent. Peter Randall, like Adrian Preater, captured the essence of his characters with ease and style.
Clare Harlow had the challenging task of playing every woman other than Anne Elliot – which adds up to a fair few characters. She handled the many roles impressively.
The third-person narration, which was embedded within the script, worked well for this production; although it slowed the pace a little at the beginning, it became more and more seamless as the show went on.
An impressive feature of Persuasion was the live music, played by the actors themselves. The music itself suited the production, adding hugely to the atmosphere of the play.
Overall, Persuasion proved to be a very good show – an enjoyable, lighthearted evening.
Persuasion is on tour until the end of June; for touring details, see the link below.