Persuasion review: A deliriously modern spin on Austen’s themes

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Director Jeff James (who adapted the book with James Yeatman) puts a deliriously modern spin on Austen’s themes while remaining true to the spirit of the novel. On a central rectangular island consisting of two pivoting platforms, one on top of the other, the lively cast brings Austen’s characters to vivid life.

The quest for wealthy husbands, the rejection of romantic foolishness for independence, the fear of genteel poverty, the arrogance of entitled society – all are conveyed with a mischievous humour that includes a deluge of disco bubbles, constant ejection of disagreeable characters from the stage on to bouncy mattresses beneath and satirical exchanges that mirror Austen’s scorpion wit.

Beautifully played by a multi-tasking cast led by Sasha Frost’s spirited Anne and ably controlled by James even in its most frivolous moments, it retains an emotional core that delivers a romantic coup de grace at the end that I really wasn’t expecting.

Irreverent it may be, disrespectful it is not.

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