REVIEW: Being Mr Wickham brings the gallant rogue back to life

Adrian Lukis as Jane Austen's dashing rogue George Wickham

Adrian Lukis stars once more as Mr Wickham at the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich - Credit: Original Theatre Company

Mr Wickham is a classic literary villain, or is he?

That's what Being Mr Wickham, being performed at The New Wolsey Theatre, aimed to find out.

Many will remember Wickham as the rather dashing young officer who piques young Elizabeth Bennett's attention after her initial interactions with Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.

He seems the perfect gentleman until he runs off with Lizzie's sister Lydia and is forced to marry her.

Adrian Lukis was the actor to portray Wickham in the well known BBC adaptation in 1995 and here again he is to play an older Wickham dishing the dirt on the events of his younger days.

The play is a one-man affair with Lukis spending an hour on stage alone aside from the occasional pre-recorded off stage sound. 

From the perspective of the audience it really is a marvel to see one actor perform such a vast quantity of material alone for such a long period. 

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The dialogue itself provides an interesting back story to Wickham, a man whose life many would assume they know all about. 

There's a darker side to Wickham's tale that Lukis has helped to develop which perhaps makes some of his later behaviour more understandable if not always forgivable. 

Wickham is a man living in a new age and dealing with the implications of that in every sense possible which for the modern audience provokes thought on the historical context of the original piece and the play. 

If you are looking for juicy gossip about his dealings with Darcy, the Bennetts and more you have definitely come to the right place as all are looked at in greater detail than the original novel could have ever allowed. 

For a man who has become so synonymous with the character of Wickham over the years for many, it's interesting to hear his own interpretations of what the future would have held for the former soldier and his contemporaries. 

Those looking for further insight should stay behind for Lukis' talk which takes place after the interval, it's clear from listening to him that he really immersed himself in the period and has a deep understanding of the character. 

Being Mr Wickham runs at the New Wolsey Theatre until October 20. 

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