The current fast-paced and rollicking production of "Sense & Sensibility" by the Maiden Phoenix Theatre Company makes Jane Austen seem like a contemporary writer opining about gossip, social graces, and the dilemma of women being objectified by men who treat them as frangible commodities that they can manipulate at will. Director Michael Underhill takes Kate Hamill's adaptation of the novel and sets his cast in motion in a way that delights and keeps the audience engaged from start to finish. Cast members occasionally roll about the performing space on boxes set on casters, sometimes miming coach trips through the countryside, sometimes comically sidling up to one another in a scene of bashfulness between two prospective lovers.
The cast is uniformly excellent and engaged in making this classic novel live and breathe. The two Dashwood sisters, Elinor (Anna Waldron) and Marianne (Erin Eva Butcher), are at the center of the swirling action. Their father has died, leaving them and their widowed mother in financial straits. They must find proper husbands, but bump up against obstacles of the class system and of interpersonal complications. Each of their hearts are broken, and they struggle to maintain both sense and sensibility in the midst of the perpetual setbacks. Ms. Waldron and Ms. Butcher are excellent in portraying the yin and the yang of two sisters who are very different, yet are devoted to one another. As Mrs. Jennings, Kiki Samko raises doddering to an art form! Dan Prior is excellent as Mr. Edward Ferrars, a philandering suitor. William Schuller is perfect as the deceiving suitor, John Willoughby, and Cameron Beaty Gossel is appropriately martial as the superannuated suitor, Colonel Brandon. Cameron Cronin is magnificently unctuous as John Dashwood, and Marge Dunn is wonderfully haughty as his wife, Fanny, who behaves shamefully toward Elinor, Marianne and their mother, Mrs. Dashwood (an excellent Elizabeth Addison). Sarah Mass teams with Kiki Samko to portray the scheming Steele sisters. Michael Underhill offers an amusing cameo as Robert Ferrars.
Director: Michael Underhill
Assistant Director/ Movement: Kiki Samko
Stage Manager: Corey Exline
Costume Designer: Erica Desautels
Scenic Designer: Marc Ewart
Lighting Designer: Emily Bearce
Sound Designer: Deirdre Benson
"Sense & Sensibility" by Kate Hamill
Maiden Phoenix Theatre Company
Through October 30th
Photo by Nile Hawver
This production will run at Hibernian Hall in Dudley Square through Sunday, October 30th. It is a total delight.
Maiden Phoenix Website