Hills Youth Theatre
Stirling Community Theatre
Until 20 Aug 2017

Review by Talia Gaertner-Jones

Jane Austen’s classic novel “Pride and Prejudice” is one of those books that we have all been given to read at one point in our lives, whether it be during English class in high school or passed down by mothers to their daughters. And the Hills Youth Theatre production definitely does justice to this long and complicated script.

Jean Collins performs superbly in the role of Elizabeth Bennett. She brings the forwardness, confidence and determination needed for such a role. As her closest sister, Matilda Butler complements her perfectly as Jane Bennett, and portrays her character as strong yet whimsical. As the remaining sisters, Mary Bennett (Ellie Tasker), Catherine “Kitty” Bennett (Zoe Muller) and Lydia Bennett (Sophie Zodrow, stepping into the role on opening night as performer Nikhita Lanyon was ill) created many memorable and often comical moments in the performance. Together with parents Mr Bennett (Noah McKay) and Mrs Bennett (Imogen Deller-Evans) the entire Bennett family are a beautiful blend of love and entertainment. Deller-Evans was a standout, channelling an ever present parent just wanting the best for her children.

As the Bennett sisters love interests, Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy played by Riordan Miller-Frost was firm in stature yet soft in character. The scene between Miller-Frost and Collins at the dance while conversing was charming. While Connor Leinweber played a beautifully sweet and timid Mr Charles Bingley and his nervous and excited proposal to Butler as Jane was delightful. William Armfield playing the character of George Wickham was stern and counteracted in a hilarious fashion to Zodrow’s Lydia.

Mention needs to be made of the cast, who were playing multiple roles. Maddy Thorne moving from a male Mr Hurst to Mr Darcy’s sister Georgina was barely recognisable, and Michelle Stewart’s shift from Mr Denny to Lady Catherine De Bourgh, one of the most memorable characters from the performance, was seamless. Stewart as the prim and proper Lady Catherine De Bourgh was a joy to watch, from her voice to her poise. The heated conversation between Stewart and Collins over marriage was also a highlight.

The set for the performance was simple yet effective. The Bennett home was split level, showing an upstairs and downstairs and the set of the long dining table fit the era and complemented the scenes. The most enjoyable scenes were of the Bennett family congregated around their table. The costumes were, as the set, perfect for the era.

Director Carole Mallett has done a beautiful job at bringing this all to fruition. Overall, “Pride and Prejudice” is a long performance with a lot of diverse characters and dialogue. For a Senior Class at Hills Youth Theatre Company, I believe, they have done a splendid task of rising to the challenge.