Jane Austen 200th Anniversary Drama Transfers From One Historic Theatre To Another
Thursday - February 9, 2017
A stylish stage version of Jane Austen’s earliest novel – Northanger Abbey – will be performed at Richmond’s historic Georgian Theatre Royal on Friday 24 February at 7.30pm and Saturday 25 February at 2.00pm and 7.30pm as part of a national tour marking the 200th anniversary of the novelist’s death.
This touring production comes direct from the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds – the only surviving example of a Regency theatre in the country – and has been adapted by acclaimed Austen specialist Tim Luscombe. It is directed by Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds’ Artistic Director Karen Simpson with an eight-strong cast.
Richmond’s Georgian Theatre Royal is one of the first venues in its national tour and the only one in the North East. Bury St Edmunds’ previous adaptation of Austen’s Mansfield Park toured in 2012 and 2013 to great critical acclaim.
“We are really looking forward to hosting Northanger Abbey which promises to be an absolute delight: witty, fast-moving and stylish,” said Clare Allen, Chief Executive at The Georgian Theatre Royal, the UK’s oldest working theatre in its original form. “It is particularly fitting that it should have been devised on the stage of another of the country’s landmark historic theatres, which was built just over forty years after our own Theatre in Richmond.
“Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds has a strong reputation as a producer of high quality drama so we are sure that Jane Austen fans and lovers of classic costume dramas are in for a treat,” she added.
The play offers an inventive, fun-filled retelling of this captivating first novel which sees the 17-year-old Catherine Morland taken by her aunt to Bath. Here she encounters the social whirl denied her at home and befriends Isabella Thorpe and the boorish brother John. She also meets the charming but eccentric Henry Tilney and his sister Eleanor and works hard to get to know them better. However, John Thorpe has other plans and is determined to have Catherine for himself. Following a string of deceptions, Catherine finally sees through his tricks and lies. When she is invited by her beloved Henry to his home, Northanger Abbey, fact and fiction collide fuelled by the horror of the Gothic fantasy The Mysteries of Udolpho and her wild imaginations get the better of her judgement. All misunderstandings are eventually resolved and, as in all the best Jane Austen novels, the young heroine finally gets her man.
PRESS FOR TIM LUSCOMBE’S PREVIOUS ADAPTATIONS OF JANE AUSTEN NOVELS
“Tim Luscombe’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds has all the shiny qualities of a piece penned yesterday.” The Telegraph
“I sincerely hope that Austen might have clapped her little hands in delight, for Tim Luscombe’s adaptation is a delight from beginning to end.” Yorkshire Post
“It is much to the credit of Tim Luscombe’s crisp new version of the tale that we are kept intrigued throughout and the highest praise is to say that, while we all know that there is a book in the background, we remain unaware of it.” The Stage