Review: Mr Darcy Loses The Plot, Lip Service Theatre, New Wolsey Theatre, Feb 22 and Bury Theatre Royal March 17
PUBLISHED: 11:10 24 February 2017 | UPDATED: 11:11 24 February 2017
LipService take us on a witty, clever and ingenious journey with Pride and Prejudice’s Mr Darcy. Deliciously irreverant, the world of the female writer is deconstructed in a hilarious pastiche mash up.
Darcy is a character clearly dissatisfied with the creative process. It’s too slow for him. His writer, Austen just isn’t making him look good enough, quick enough. His male ego is wobbling, so his wandering eye sees him gate-crash other female penned stories, looking for satisfaction.
Maggie Fox and Sue Ryding are a well established double act who know their literary stuff and this show is both a joyous celebration and smart critique. Mr Bingley first appears as half drawn, his body a sketch, then later seems to disappear literally into the background. He knows he is “bland”, but seems happy enough with his well formed calves. Darcy on the other hand, knows his worth. When he gets mistaken for De Maurier’s Maxim De Winter it all feels quite fitting.
Mobile screens are moved across the stage and provide not only clever scene and character changes but also back drops for brilliant moments where characters jump in and out of the live action and film. Each moment is choreographed by Maggie Fox and Sue Ryding with precision: the pace just leisurely enough to make it feel improvised and intimate.
The stage is draped in quilts that depict stories and patterns that reflect the domestic responsibilities of the female writer, and the very real conflicts between creativity and caring for others. As well as the famous writers, like Elizabeth Gaskill trying to write a novel with a baby in her arms, dealing with deadlines from Dickens, we also see Sue Ryding in a unforgettable moment battling with the internet cloud, personified by Maggie Fox as a gate keeping but unreliable all powerful entity.
A sense of recognition of characters and situations creates a warm rapport and this riotously funny and enjoyable show is highly recommended.