Ends Jan 06

Pride and Prejudice (Primary Stages)

Members say: Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Delightful, Great acting
21 reviews
147 reviews

Primary Stages and Hudson Valley Shakespeare present a new stage incarnation of Jane Austen's classic novel, adapted by and starring Kate Hamill ('Vanity Fair,' 'Sense and Sensibility'). 

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The outspoken Elizabeth Bennet faces mounting pressure from her status-conscious mother to secure a suitable marriage. But is marriage suitable for a woman of Elizabeth’s intelligence and independence? Especially when the irritating, aloof, self-involved, tall, vaguely handsome, mildly amusing, and impossibly aristocratic Mr. Darcy keeps popping up at every turn! Literature’s greatest tale of latent love has never felt so theatrical.


Cast & Creatives (12)

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Reviews (168)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score


"A laugh-out-loud adaptation...Isn't super accurate, as far as the novel is concerned anyway...The play itself features cross-dressing actors and more anachronisms than a Mel Brooks movie...While some of these jokey interludes are hit-and-miss, the antics mostly work because Dehnert and Hamill commit to the anachronistic tomfoolery throughout the show. But it's the actors, with their onstage playfulness who make the production a joy to watch." Full Review

The New York Times

"It hasn’t met a rib it can’t tickle. But the silliness masks a cynicism that blunts some of the fun...If the performances are sometimes too exaggerated, they are always spirited...I don’t mind the anachronisms in language or music and I’ll go to the mat for Ms. Hamill’s un-Georgian mischief. And yet, this 'Pride and Prejudice' misses the heart and real radicalism of its source. Maybe it even misses the point." Full Review

New York Theater

"The tone has been rewired from witty comedy of manners to boisterous farce...A fast-paced, winking entertainment...Hamill also winds up doing justice to Austen in her portrayal of Lizzy...The bickering between her and her love-hate suitor/antagonist Mr. Darcy has its comic moments, but as the play progresses, the attraction between the two feels real...For all the bells and whistling the last quarter of Hamill’s play is as charming and touching as it is in Austen’s novel." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"The case for this sort of fooling around is that a classic is supposedly being given new life, making it accessible to modern audiences...It might help if these bits of business were executed with more precision, but there is far too much mugging, shouting, and running around, all of which proves wearying...Must it be so blatant, so juvenile? Couldn't a little Austen-style sophistication sneak into the proceedings?" Full Review

Front Row Center

“The cast is beyond perfect, the direction inventive, and the text is stripped of all the unnecessary fluff. In other words, this production makes the story that Jane Austen shaped available and immediate...So connected are the actors and elements of this production, one cannot single any one person or element out. This is an ensemble that stands as an example of what the word ‘seamless’ means in the theatre...Treat yourself to this one.” Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

“While there are flickers of fine comic acting, and the actors are all expert at what they do, subtlety is sacrificed for pedal-to-the-metal hamminess. Hamill's overacted Lizzy is the worst offender…The performance has an anything-for-a-laugh exuberance that often smothers the story in farcical foolery…Act Two, while still prone to excess, tones things down considerably and has some lovely, even serious moments, especially an extended conversation between Lizzy and Mr. Darcy.” Full Review

The Wall Street Journal

“The ever-ingenious Ms. Hamill has given us something completely and delightfully different, a smallish-cast period-dress ‘Pride and Prejudice’ that she’s done over in the revved-up manner of a Hollywood screwball comedy…Such a show demands worthy staging, and Amanda Dehnert…delivers the goods with gusto…In addition to having written the script, Ms. Hamill plays Lizzy Bennet with winning impishness…The kind of show that would flourish in a small Broadway house.” Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

“Brilliantly brought to life by the immensely talented and seriously smart Hamill...She has returned to the stage, to star in and present Lizzy and the Bennet family shenanigans to us all in an absurdly funny but ridiculously heart-felt manner...Will squeeze your romantic heart in the most touching of manners, as you laugh, love, and truly embrace these characters...A pure theatrical delight, a playful and smart romp through the English countryside of Austin’s world." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

"A delightfully comedic farce...Dehnert keeps this delightful play moving with a beyond-brisk pace that manages to clearly delineate the novel’s action from beginning to end...The assumed seriousness of the novel is replaced with the unexpected playfulness of Hamill’s script, the precision of Dehnert’s direction, and the brilliant cast assembled for this production...This is a ‘Pride and Prejudice’ for this time and every time.” Full Review


“While this is not a Bedlam production as was Hamill's hugely successful stage version of Austen's second published novel, ‘Sense and Sensibility,’ director Amanda Dehnert has staged the play in their inimitable style for this co-production of Primary Stages and Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival and has created a clever 19th century entertainment with a decidedly 21st century sensibility. The versatile Hamill has also given herself the plum role of Elizabeth Bennet, here known as Lizzy.” Full Review

Gotham Playgoer

"While the present work offers many pleasures, it lacks the air of lighthearted effortlessness...A frenetic pastiche of slapstick comedy, anachronisms, and crossdressing that tries much too hard to entertain...Surprisingly Kate Hamill’s Lizzy is disappointing; she comes across mainly as a sourpuss. Some of the anachronisms were jarring for me...The audience appeared to be having a good time. If you are not measuring it against Hamill’s earlier work, you probably will too." Full Review

Time Out New York

"There is a pleasing simplicity to her adaptation...But in Primary Stages’ frisky production, comedic bits overwhelm character. Dehnert lets the playful antics descend into uncontrolled theatrics...The most effective moments are the ones with the most heart. O’Connell’s awkwardness is endearing, and Thorn delivers touching turns as both the mild Bennet patriarch and Lizzy’s practical friend Charlotte. Like Austen, they recognize the humor that can be found in restraint." Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

“Either you go for this riff on the classic or you don’t...An onslaught of buffoonery by a cast that, as talented as it is, overacts to the hilt under the direction of Dehnert. Depending on one’s reaction, blame or praise can be aimed at playwright Hamill...The audience generally whooped it up with laughter...However, I had trouble joining in the revelry, as I am too engaged with the wit and meaning in Austen’s original to see the purpose of such no-holds-barred satire.” Full Review

Off Off Online

“What’s noticeably missing is the story’s historical context. What’s left is a Reader’s Digest reduction of Austen’s saga, with wildly anachronistic language...Hamill’s script stays close to Austen’s dialogue, but her rowdy innovations undercut the source material...What saves the day for this production is faultless casting coupled with Dehnert’s fast-paced direction...The ensemble...is as close to irresistible as any cast currently on a New York stage.” Full Review


"Purists need be forewarned that the gifted and talented Hamill has eloped just a bit recklessly with the irony, wit, and insightfulness of the novel's matrimonial considerations...This version, nevertheless, remains commendably faithful to Austin's plot yet with an almost giddy disposition towards parody...Matchmaking a la Austin in the Georgian manner has rarely been afforded so much giddy fun and funny games." Full Review

Village Voice

"The performance, though always skillful, depends entirely on your willingness to enjoy something that hews to Austen’s narrative while consistently violating her manner, her spirit, and her tone...The excess of goofball behavior has not left sufficient room for Austen to cast her spell, and without her spell, what was the point of adapting her novel?...The company’s love for the work, though not entirely absent, has been displaced by other concerns, like making noise and having fun." Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

"Hamill’s 'Pride and Prejudice' has fun and charm to spare, but it ultimately feels like it’s grafting an idea onto Austen’s text...Though this 'Pride and Prejudice' is full of high spirits and genuine mirth, Hamill’s additions to Austen feel, well, like additions. The games and bells become bells and whistles...When it embraces Austen’s inherent genius and humor, the production starts to shine...In its persistent additions to its source, it only intermittently accesses the power of what’s al... Full Review

Stage Buddy

"Incites the senses and decries stuffy sensibility...Hamill’s take on the classic novel has the convivial effect of hurling you head-first into the marital machinations of the entire Bennet family...Austen’s eristic tale has an incandescent champion in Kate Hamill who’s a firebrand in the role of Lizzy Bennet...I haven’t stopped laughing at her plight; it’s a perfect distillation of Austen’s valiant heroine. Excellent direction by Amanda Dehnert controls the chaos." Full Review

Berkshire Edge

for a previous production “Hamill…is at it again more riotously, more ingeniously than before. With a rollicking, witty, smart, thoroughly entertaining ‘Pride and Prejudice’…Ms Hamill delights with her best work yet, and serves the best summer theater fare anywhere...Beneath ‘P&P’s’ laughs, there’s a core, more delicate sensibility – a wry, keen awareness that regards, with squinted eye, people warts and all. This 'P&P' is blissful mirth – a special potion of affectionate, bemused cynicism, and realistic optimism.” Full Review

Hudson Valley One

for a previous production “Not for Hamill such a passive/aggressive angle of attack; she goes for full-blown farce that tears the social conventions of the landed gentry to hysterical shreds. Amazingly, deliciously, it all works; but purists should consider themselves forewarned…While clever, the humor here is very broad indeed…I highly recommend giving HVSF’s 'Pride & Prejudice' a try. It’s loads of fun, put on with both great professionalism and refreshing, zany zest.” Full Review

Just Jane 1813

for a previous production “Hamill has clearly made it her own in way that I think will resonate with all kinds of Austen fans!...Hamill does a lovely job as Austen’s heroine, Elizabeth Bennet…Kudos to Kate Hamill for displaying the courage of Elizabeth Bennet to not only adapt Austen’s most popular story for the stage, but to adapt it in a way that I believe will appeal to Austen fans, old and new, in a way that’s fun, imaginative, and bold.” Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

Clever, Enchanting, Refreshing, Romantic, Hilarious

See it if you'd like an entertaining adaptation of a great novel.

Don't see it if you do not like tinkering with classics.

Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful, Great writing, Hilarious

See it if you want to see a fun, imaginative, well written and acted interpretation of a classic.

Don't see it if you don't like; plays, interpretations of classics, a fun night out at the theatre.

Funny, Clever, Quirky, Refreshing, Fluffy

See it if you like a light, feathery take on a classic...a step or two up from community theater

Don't see it if you want something with gravitas; some older people near me were dismayed by the silliness of it

Indulgent, Excruciating, Overrated

See it if you like slapstick humor, don't care about what was originally written and have patience for mugging and endless costume changes

Don't see it if you want insights and purpose for a re-interpretation of a classic that could have a lot to say about the status of women in 2017.

Jason o'connell makes the show, Otherwise a bit too exagerated

See it if If you want to experience the true talent of Jason O'Connell & if you are open to a raucous interpretation of Austen

Don't see it if Slap stick drives you crazy or if you are an Austen traditionalist

Also Kate Hamill went just a bit too far with this one ( at least for me ) ... Read more Read less

One note, long and shrill

See it if you don’t mind a version of P&P where Lydia is the most complex character; you like Mel Brooks’ comedy at its loudest & flappiest.

Don't see it if you won’t tolerate Mel Brooks’ style poorly done by the lead. Be honest because this play is not quick. People left @ intermission.

Also The sad thing is Hamill is the weak link in her own show. (She wrote t... Read more Read less

Clever, Delightful, Great writing, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if You love Austen in action. This play is a fresh comedic take on a classic.

Don't see it if You prefer a traditional unedited production of Austen. There is a touch of agressive over-acting by Elizabeth at the end.

Funny, Ambitious, Clever, Delightful, Great acting

See it if you are ready for a delightful, surprising, clever version (deconstruction?) of a beloved classic novel. It is tremendous fun and well done

Don't see it if you don't like productions with small casts playing multiple roles, if you aren't in the mood to laugh, or you don't like classics changed.

Funny, Clever, Entertaining

See it if you liked the Bedlam's Sense & Sensibility. This one is almost as funny and wild, although I missed the unconventional staging of S&S

Don't see it if you hope to see all the nuances of the book presented here, e.g., a statement about women's rights; that was lost in translation

Funny, Ambitious, Indulgent, Entertaining, Frenetic

See it if want to see a creative irreverent adaptation of a Jane Austen novel

Don't see it if you loved Kate Hamill's version of Sense & Sensibility and are expecting something of that quality again.

Also Unlike S&S, this one tries too hard and the effort shows. Nevertheless... Read more Read less

Funny, Great acting, Entertaining, Great staging, ...with a pretty major caveat on the double-casting

See it if you like slapstick or physical comedy (there's a bit w/ a chair that's roll-on-the-floor hysterical) & don't mind your Austen untraditional.

Don't see it if you don't like the above! Also, see my, er, "see also" for a pretty strong caveat on the gender politics of the double casting.

Also I'm struggling with this show, because it really is a mixed bag. 25% w... Read more Read less

Clever, Great acting, Refreshing, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if Have a great time revisiting a classic novel in a totally engaging manner , funnier than Sense and Sensibility

Don't see it if You take life and love seriously and want your theater to do the same

Anachronisms keep it fresh

See it if you enjoy great actors, especially the men, playing multiple gender bending roles, quick changes, pop music, & a love story (sort of).

Don't see it if u r not open to a different interpretation of Austen. Although it was fun much of the time, I didn't care about the characters.

Also Lively but tiresome.

Funny, Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Great staging

See it if You enjoy non-traditional takes on classics, like farce and silliness, can forgive slightly cynical perspective on love and marriage.

Don't see it if you are immune to the real creativity behind a low budget production such as this, with great acting and ingenious stagecraft from f. POV.

Funny, Inventive, Refreshing, Entertaining, Rom-com

See it if You liked Bedlam's Sense & Sensibility, are an Austen fan, enjoy madcap rom-coms and doubled-up roles. No need to know the book to enjoy it!

Don't see it if You hate Jane Austen, don't like long (2.5 hour) plays, prefer your classics straight up rather than "messed with." Or don't like to laugh.

Enchanting, Great acting, Must see, Great writing

See it if You love P&P and you want to see a smart, careful, and truly well-done adaptation performed and directed incredibly well.

Don't see it if Mild anachronisms (non-period music, etc.) will bother you.

Ambitious, Clever, Hilarious, Entertaining, You thought you were done with austen--guess again!!!

See it if you are a fan of Austen and want to see a remarkable variation on a traditional story. It will make you so happy! Hats off to them all!

Don't see it if You are a purist about Austen and don't enjoy an out-of-the-box production.

Also WOW!! The Cherry Lane Theatre is having a season that is a bowl of rip... Read more Read less

Delightful, Refreshing, Hilarious, Entertaining, Somewhat indulgent

See it if you enjoy cleverly focused & modernized, physically entertaining retelling of a classic, told via great performances

Don't see it if you are a purist when it comes to the novel, or wouldn't enjoy an interpretation that lets the story have fun with its own tropes

Ambitious, Clever, Delightful, Refreshing, Hilarious

See it if you love the satire and sly fun in Jane Austen's classic novel. Imaginative staging, delightful singing, great silliness.

Don't see it if you are hooked on the romances. They are the plot but not the purpose of this production.

Funny, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Hilarious

See it if you enjoy lovingly irreverent, incredibly clever, fast-paced, and cheeks-hurt-from-laughing drama

Don't see it if you really can't stand even modernised funny period drama, struggle with fast dialogue, or with body-language intensive plays

Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Romantic, Entertaining

See it if you love the play and can put up with a bit too much slapstick. There is an essence of romance that strikes a real chord. well done by all

Don't see it if you either need absolute faithful portrayal of the book or a full blown dramatization of the saga. This is a clever but bare bones approach

Funny, Clever, Edgy

See it if You enjoy creative versions of shows. This is a farce, so prepare for a comedy rather than a romance.

Don't see it if You are a P&P purist or you don't like gender bender characters.

Clever, Dizzying, Quirky

See it if You love physical comedy and general silliness. This was a miss for me but I did hear other people laughing.

Don't see it if If you are not a fan of farcical physical comedy.

Funny, Ambitious, Clever, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if You enjoyed Hamill's versions of Sense and Sensibility and Vanity Fair.

Don't see it if You don't like anyone messing with classics.

Also I enjoyed this production, but not as much as I did Hamill's versions ... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Wacky

See it if you want to have fun; you enjoyed the author's Sense&Sensibility and Vanity Fair; you like new takes on classics.

Don't see it if you're an Austen purist &won't like a wacky, somewhat slapstick version of P&P ; don't know the story; dislke actors playing multiple roles.

Also I didn't think this was quite as good as Vanity Fair. There is too muc... Read more Read less