Jane Austen has been loved by readers for almost two hundred years. Austen’s stories of love and marriage feature smart and brave women that ultimately find true love. Book-It Repertory Theatre has taken on the daunting task of adapting Austen’s novel Persuasion into a play for the stage. I’m happy to say it is a smashing success.
Chiara Motley as Anne Elliot in Persuasion at Book-It Repertory Theatre. Photo by John Ulman.
Persuasion is the story of Anne Elliot. Anne’s family is going broke thanks to her sister and father’s extravagant lifestyle, so, in an attempt to cut their expenses, they rent their house and move to Bath. Inadvertently, by renting their house, Anne’s old boyfriend, Captain Wentworth, ends up spending time with her again after eight years of silence. Anne and Wentworth struggle to overcome the constrictions of the nineteenth century and their own pride.
Book-It has transformed their theatre for this production to be theatre-in-the-round (when there are seats all the way around the stage, creating a round playing space). I thought that having theatre-in-the-round was an interesting idea but the sometimes the staging made it really hard to see the actors.
All the actors did a really superb job. They made the difficult nineteenth century vocabulary understandable, and elegant to listen to. The performances I enjoyed the most out of the fantastic cast were those of Carol Roscoe as Mary Musgrove and Kevin McKeon as Sir Walter Elliot. Roscoe and McKeon had the audience in stitches when they were on stage.
The combination of wonderful acting and Austen’s story of everlasting love and the constrictions of nineteenth century society make this play great.
Book-It Repertory Theatre
Through March 2nd
More info and show times: http://www.book-it.org/
Book-It’s Ticket Office: 206-216-0833
Ticket Office Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 1:00 p.m. – show time
Book-It Repertory Theatre is located in the Center House Theatre at Seattle Center. It is served by buses 3,4,5,8,16,19,24,74 and 82. For bus times: tripplanner.metrokc.gov
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