AUSTEN THE MUSICAL – Review

AUSTEN THE MUSICAL by ROB WINLOW

A story of the life of Jane Austen came to the Bead and Roses Theatre.

This 40-60 seater fringe theatre sits upstairs at this local pub in Clapham. Small and Intimate this venue let us get up close and personal with the Cast and let us indulge our self in the story of her life.

Four actors were all it took to convey this story, some playing multiple guises. The audience were able to differentiate easily and were played out with individuality.

Playing to a sold out audience, Edith Kirkwood sits at her writing table scribbling words with her quill, looking up at the audience into your eyes, suggesting she has an idea then back to her writing pages in silence noting them down. This was us being introduced to Jane Austen the would be writer who would go on to be highly regarded author and probably more appreciated in years after her death.

Here Rob Winlow takes us through the tribulations she endures as she seeks love and her efforts to get published in a male dominated profession. Were her books inspired by a vivid imagination or a romantic heart? Edith Kirkwood plays Jane superbly, being the independent lady knowing what she wants in life, not wishing to conform the the normality and custom that many other women of the time did. Edith displays moments of happiness, sadness,comedy, longing and emotion throughout the play and engages us the audience in her life struggles.

Supported by Thomas Hewitt, this gentleman’s portrayals left us laughing and crying in equal measure. His namesake Thomas Lefroy could well have been my favourite character he played in this but alas wasn’t to be in Janes life for long. Among other suitors Thomas played them well and brought us clear definitions between them all. His voice also i favoured among the cast for a reason that seemed to draw me in.

Mother and Father of Jane Austen played by Jenni Lea-Jones and Adam Grayson respectively brought humour and confidence as the parents. Jenni the mother who thought Jane was wasting her time writing, and instead encouraging her to find love. The father who respected Jane’s passion and continued to support and promote her work to unwilling publishing houses until he succeeded in later life.

The songs within the show were delivered excellently and reverberated around the room, catchy too, which had us singing along in our heads as we echoed the words sang by cast  on our quest to see if Jane was inspired by her ‘Romantic Heart’.

I wont talk too much about the story line itself as i want you to see it for yourself. But be assured this story will take you through the highs and lows of her life right to the end. But let it be known this cast are skilled and with minimal props or distraction they deliver well rehearsed and well display understood delivery of the writing behind the show.

The show tours until the 29 March 2018. If you wish to read more info or buy tickets click here