Wednesday, 15 October 2014


Hello Johanna and welcome at My Jane Austen Book Club! First of all congratulations on your excellent work  in this extraordinary adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.  While reading about your show, “Pride and Prejudice with Two Actors”,  I got really curious. How’s that possible? Two actors, twenty-one characters? Does that mean Nick, the other half of Two Bit Classics,   plays both Darcy and Mr Collins, and Wickham and Mr Bennet as well? And you play all the five Bennet sisters, Mrs Bennet, Lady De Bourgh, Charlotte Lucas? That’s amazing. That must be a real enterprise! 

Between us, Nick and I bring 21 characters to life, but Nick doesn't play all the men and I don't play all the women. There are so many double-acts in the book and we wanted to stretch our acting muscles to the max and have 2 of us bring them all go life between us.  We also want to invite the audience into Austen's wonderful world by encouraging them to imagine and invent with us. Our costumes and set are wonderfully creative and adaptable and we love the challenge of our nightly Austen dance!

Why Jane Austen and not Dickens or the Brontes?

I certainly wouldn't rule out either Dickens or the Brontes in the future, but Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite novels, it has this iconic status and all the characters are so famous it seemed like a natural starting point for a new company.

Austen was a master of irony and wit but she lived in a distant , different time like the Regency. How much has the way we laugh and are amused changed? Do we still smile at her subtle irony?

Of course we do! Her characters are so well drawn that you almost feel like they are present with you, when you read the book - her free indirect style is so incisive and rich. Because so much of her wit resides within her narrative, I have kept this in the stage adaptation (rather than turning everything into dialogue). Characters narrate themselves to the audience and build a relationship with them, so we get that layering of perspectives for which Austen is so famous.

What can Darcy and Elizabeth still teach present-day audiences?

My hope is to give audience members a theatrical experience of the novel. I want them to go on a journey with all the characters and for them all to feel present and accessible to an audience.  I mentioned double acts before, and I think that each half of the double act sheds light on the other...this is true of Mr Darcy and Lizzy, but also of Mr and Mrs Bennet, Darcy and Bingley, Jane and Lizzy and so on.  To me, Pride and Prejudice is a novel about self knowledge and truth and a I hope those themes strike people at various points as they watch.  

Which is the funniest moment in the show?

That's probably for an audience to decide! Our endeavour has been to make a fun, inventive yet truthful experience for people to watch.  Audience laughter is a brilliant sign that they are on the journey with us and we are delighted there is so much of it each night.
Can someone  totally inexperienced  with Austen enjoy your comedy?

Absolutely, many people who have never read any Austen have been along to see us and said how much they enjoyed the evening. One of the great joys of this work is that it has been celebrated by stalwart fans as well as new readers and students meeting Austen for the first time.

Let’s say you’ve got about 50 words. How would you invite our readers in the UK to come and see your show?

It’s a delightful, witty, heartfelt and joyous romp through the world of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Every word spoken is that of Austen and the piece is full of ballrooms, chance encounters, dusky men on horseback, invention and imagination and the response from those who have seen it has been overwhelming.

Thanks a lot, Johanna. Great success to you and Nick on your tour in the UK!

More about our guest at 

More about the show

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