Main Street Theater is showing “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley,” a heartwarming holiday-themed sequel to Jane Austen’s novel, “Pride and Prejudice.” The play focuses on Mary, the overlooked middle sister the Bennet family.
Contemporary playwrights Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon imagine how Miss Mary Bennet finds love at Christmas during a visit to Pemberley, the estate of her sister Elizabeth and her husband the renowned Mr. Darcy. Just like in Jane Austen novels, the marriage match is predictable from the beginning. However, the story is in the winding path to love, not the happily ever after. The play is so true to Austen’s style and storyline, it could have been written by Jane herself.
Chaney Moore shows the many sides of Mary Bennet, who struggles to find how to be herself and fit into the world of the Bennet sisters. Moore shows Mary to be both reserved and passionate, composed and flustered with love.
Brock Hatton plays Arthur de Bourgh, the nerdy and awkward but eligible bachelor. Watching him stumbling to navigate the uncharted social waters of courtship and love is comical and endearing.
There are several UH alumni in this production. Skylar Sinclair plays the infamous Lydia Wickham, who is a flirtatious ball of energy throughout the play. Alan Brincks fits the tall, dark and handsome profile of Fitzwilliam Darcy from the books and movies, although marriage seems to have mellowed his gentlemanly character. Heidi Hinkel plays Jane Bingley and brings rays of cheer and light into the cold winter parlor room on stage.
Elizabeth Darcy introduces an innovative 1815 Christmas tradition to the family: an indoor Christmas tree. The production is a new take on the classic storyline of love and family, which Main Street Theater is introducing to Houston. With this being the second year in a row that the local Rice Village theater is showing “Miss Bennet,” I can see it quickly becoming a new holiday tradition. “Janeites” will delight in this whimsical and witty play of mannerisms and marriage. It adds a little Jane Austen magic to the Christmas season.
“Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley” is showing at Main Street Theater through Dec. 23. This cozy theater in Rice Village is offering free College Nights for this performance on Thursday, Nov. 29 and Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. Make sure to reserve your seat online and bring your student ID. On other days, student tickets are $10. University faculty and staff can receive 25 percent off when they use the promo code “TEACHER” online.