The opening notes of “Sense and Sensibility,” the luscious creation from TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, succinctly capture the obstacles experiencing two youthful women of England at the twilight of the 18th century.
While sisters Marianne and Elinor Dashwood maintain on to each and every other through daily life-shattering occurrences, their yearning for household potential customers to a potent commitment that carries the narrative. In spite of worries the story will reveal in because of time, the sisters make something crystal clear at the onset, “Wherever you are will generally be household to me.”
Paul Gordon’s stupendous musical adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel, staged with depth and humor by TheatreWorks’ former longtime inventive director Robert Kelley, accentuates boldly the craving for residence and economic stability, informing more than a uncomplicated drive to be amongst society’s higher-crust. The persuasive storyline is matched with a manufacturing high on spectacle, wealthy with humor, and extensive on vivacity. The tunes are heartfelt, with flavorful vibrato, fantastic phrasing and motivation to a story showcasing lots of delightful two-part harmonies.
The environment of Austen’s young girls could experience shallow on the surface area, however these optics mask the vicious worries that appear with living in a gentry-dominated globe that sets standing at a premium. The sisters navigate a suffocating culture that views someone in their middle-30s as decrepit and historic, exploring for adore and protection that will give them a household in literal and metaphoric senses.
The pragmatic and passionate Elinor (Sharon Rietkerk) is the “sense” of the two sisters. She methods lifetime with robust measure, contrasting mightily with supremely gifted Marianne (Antoinette Comer), who exudes an impassioned sensibility. The sisters and mother Fanny (Melissa WolfKlain) experience a upcoming without their beloved Norland Park house owing to the demise of their patriarch, with the home willed to his son John (Nick Nakashima). A modest cottage is presented by a relative, and the ladies start off life anew, adventures of love and heartbreak just all around the corner.
The lovers awaiting the Dashwood sisters assortment from positively pensive to ninnyish nincompoop. There is the pure Edward Ferrars (Darrell Morris, Jr.), a person so nervous about speaking with Elinor that his ideal first attempts at conversation are all versions of how sorry he is about her dead father. The dashing John Willoughby (Hunter Ryan Herdlicka), inspiring one of the funnier leitmotifs of the demonstrate, is just one whose agile advancements are ideal for a concentrate on this kind of as Marianne, whose depth burns regularly.
Plot twists are plentiful, and the show’s delight is in how there is no complacency for those people who bear witness to these pursuits. Do Edward’s dazzling superior seems pair with a heart of glimmering gold? How about Willoughby? Is he a gentleman of advantage or only as well excellent to be legitimate?
In addition, the debonair Colonel Brandon (Noel Anthony) is a worthy suitor, but his age is a problem. Irrespective of frequent wisecracks about bones that may well shatter on the upcoming action, the Colonel looks fairly great for his state-of-the-art age of 35.
The collaboration in between Gordon and Kelley has spawned a pleasant trio of reveals from the Austen canon, which includes TheatreWorks’ world premieres of both equally “Emma” in 2007 and “Pride and Prejudice” in 2019. Now the enterprise is presenting the regional premiere of “Sense and Sensibility.” In addition to Kelley’s positive-handed route, the production values are rather amazing. Joe Ragey’s glittering and grand established layout, together with Fumiko Bielefeldt’s putting costumes, crafts a environment of luxurious circumstance.
Gordon’s gentle and pointed lyrics sign-up substantial on the swoon meter. There are no huge-scale musical numbers, or any flashy choreography. Rietkerk, she of the mellifluous sign-up, and Comer, who dazzles with a velvety vocal texture, do the bulk of the hefty lifting and deliver great harmonies. Not to be outdone, the highlighted performers Morris and Anthony each shine when incorporating a pitch to a tune, or handling solo duties. Conductor and pianist William Liberatore marches the tale forward, top a five-piece orchestra with poise.
The glee of this remarkably stylized, time period rom-com is not simply just good lyrics and tunes that be sure to the ear, but an emphasis on humor. It is far more than a superfluous comedy of manners, exactly where folks act posh and every person chuckles. There is joy in the show’s poetry, together with legit cackles and a great deal delight.
It’s a excellent tale for everyone, even for incredibly outdated folks who might be celebrating their 35th birthday.
David John Chávez is chair of the American Theatre Critics Association. Twitter @davidjchavez.
‘SENSE AND SENSIBILITY’
Ebook, songs and lyrics by Paul Gordon, tailored from the Jane Austen novel, presented by TheatreWorks Silicon Valley
Via: April 3
Where: Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield Street, Palo Alto
Health & security: Proof of vaccination necessary masks will have to be worn in the theater
Tickets: $30-$95 www.theatreworks.org.