Give me a movie with period costumes—preferably beribboned gowns and elaborate waistcoats—and I’m there. If the setting is England, all the better, where vast country estates and strict codes between the classes are as fascinating to mull over as (hopefully) the story itself. But put this sort of thing on stage and somehow the appeal evaporates faster than you can say “Pride and Prejudice” which, as it happens, you can witness for yourself in an unbearably pert and cutesy production at Northlight Theatre in Skokie. Adapted from Jane Austen’s 1813 novel of romantic (and monetary) intrigue—it is also the current “One Book, One Chicago” selection—the story centers Elizabeth Bennet and her hot-and-cold, somewhat complicated quest for The Big Man on Campus, Mr. Darcy. Ah yes, we know the pair: nimble-minded Eliza matching wits with the infuriating, maddening, studly Mr. Darcy, whose heart of gold is buried somewhere beneath all that pomp and chest hair. Oddly enough, they become entirely flattened in the transfer from page to stage, which is quite a feat considering the manically florid efforts of director Peter Amster, who has instructed his cast to adopt a style you might call commemorative-plate-like: pretty, but pointless. Stick with the book and sit it out until the newest film version comes along in the not-so-distant future, starring Keira Knightley. Domino Harvey as Elizabeth Bennet; now that’s something I gotta see. (Nina Metz)
This production is now closed.