Romance is in the air at Lifeline Theatre in Rogers Park due to their delightfully charming production of Jane Austin’s classic Pride and Prejudice. Proving that love conquers all, despite social status or interpersonal awkwardness, Austin’s seminal work is wittily sly and the perfect fantasy, a delightful combination that Lifeline perfectly captures here.
Headstrong Elizabeth Bennet is eternally stymied by the seemingly misanthropic Mr. Darcy whenever the two meet. But, when the lower class Bennet discovers that the powerful Darcy has thwarted the romance of her sweet, younger sister, her disdain becomes unrivaled. Even the surprise brought on by Darcy’s passionately declared love for her does little to change her position. But when Bennet’s family is threatened by an unrecoverable controversy involving Darcy’s handsome rival, will the all consuming power of honest devotion save the day? Well, yes. But, the true fun is had by watching all the unexpected humor and heart filled emotion that results from the tremendous complications that occur on the mismatched couple’s road to happiness.
Smartly adapted by Christina Calvit and winningly directed by Elise Kauzlaric, this production is immeasurably helped by Melania Lacey’s efficient scenic design and Bill Morey’s spot-on costuming.
Lead by the genial Laura McClain as Elizabeth, the talented cast helps prove why Pride and Prejudice has sold over 20 million copies since it was first published in 1813. Dennis Grimes brings an honest sensitivity to his latter interactions as Mr. Darcy while James Gasber provides the necessary understated charm as the ultimately roguish Mr. Wickham. Kirsty Rivett and Jan Sidaro each provide moments of unparalleled humor in their characterizations, but it is the truly amazing work of Cameron Feagin as Mrs. Bennet that spotlights the excellence of this ensemble. Feagin creates a full bodied character whose every movement is sparkled with hysterical energy. It is nearly impossible to contain your laughter when she is on stage, resulting in a nearly perfect summertime evening of joyful romanticism.
Pride and Prejudice runs through July 8th at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood. Tickets are $20-$35 and can be purchased by calling 773-761-4477 or by visiting www.lifelinetheatre.com. —Brian Kirst