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27th June 2017 - 1st July 2017
The Production Exchange presents
A new adaptation by Tim Luscombe
Directed by Colin Blumenau
Designed by Libby Watson
Two hundred years after the much-loved author’s death, Jane Austen’s comic masterpiece, Emma, takes us on a joyful journey packed full of warmth and wit, romantic schemes and mistaken intentions.
Young, bright and beautiful, Emma Woodhouse has the world at her feet, or at least the small part of Surrey in which she lives. When the dashing Mr Elton comes to town she decides to take it on herself to perform the role of matchmaker to her new friend Harriet Smith. But to Emma’s great surprise, the more she tries to manipulate the destinies of others, the less success she has, until she herself, determined never to wed, is forced to face her own feelings and perhaps even dare to love another…
Keeping faithfully to the original, Tim Luscombe (Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park and Persuasion) relates Austen’s story with verve and style, transporting her famous characters vividly to the stage, including the dashing Mr Knightley, the comic hypochondriac Mr Woodhouse and the sublimely verbose Miss Bates!
★★★★★ “authentic and accessible… you will surely fall in love…. an absolute must see” Essential Surrey
★★★★ “crisp witty dialogue and of course a well-crafted plot this is an enjoyable evening and well recommended to those who know the story as well as those who do not” The Reviews Hub
Post-Show Talk: Wednesday 28th June
Pre-Show Talk: Thursday 29th June – 6:30pm (To booked your ticket please click HERE)
Price includes a £1 contribution to our heritage fund.
Tim Luscombe has adapted Jane Austen’s classic book Emma which stars Bethan Nash as the heroine who, in the words of Austen herself, “no-one but myself will much like”. And is, according to Luscombe, a “classist, conceited, domineering and self-deluded manipulative snob”. Although the young, bright and beautiful Emma does have some good points, the book is slow to release details of them. So in this new two-hour long adaptation, the decision was taken to show her as much as a victim of someone else’s manipulative actions, in this case Harriet (Polly Misch), her protégé whom she tries to match with the dashing Mr Elton (Nicholas Tizzard). But the reverse-manipulation means that the more she tries to manipulate the destinies of others, the less success she has, until she herself, determined never to wed, is forced to face her own feelings and perhaps even dare to love another… Also dashing in this version is Mr Knightley, with the comic hypochondriac father of Emma (both played by Phillip Edgerley) and the sublimely verbose Miss Bates (Kate Copeland). Mrs Elton is a masterclass in snobbery, amusingly portrayed by Hannah Genesius.
The set itself gives little away as to the location and period of the play. Other than a simple backdrop, the stage is adorned with a large wooden hollow oval around which the characters walk and, in the final scene, where each couple perform a little dance. In fact, the story is placed in a small Surrey town called Highbury which, from geographical references in the story, is likely in reality to be Epsom and the characters therefore reflect the inhabitants of the area in Regency times.
You don’t need to have read the book to follow the story and 200 years on from the death of Austen in 1817, the play gives an insight into the sensibilities of a certain class of people towards love and marriage and the mating game long before the likes of Tinder was invented…