When we first set out to adapt Northanger Abbey we didn't think too much about the potential difficulties, which was probably a good thing! Austen has so many fans around the world, and you have to respect that in your treatment of the material. It was our enjoyment of the original novel that made us want to adapt it in the first place, and I hope our fondness for Austen's writing comes across in the show. I think some people may look at the production photos and assume it's some kind of spoof, which it absolutely isn't. We use puppets help us tell the story, but they're not remotely incongruous. In fact, thanks to the wonderful way puppetry works, you quickly forget that they're puppets at all, and simply see the characters they're playing.
Fortunately there's a lot of dialogue in the book, some of which can be used verbatim, but then you have to decide how you're going to bridge the gaps and tell the rest of the story. We felt very strongly that the authorial voice was an important part of the novel and a big part of Austen's style – even today her wit feels remarkably fresh and we didn't want to lose any of that, so we ended up with a narrator character. He's quite good fun in fact, and allows a playful connection with the audience too.