Pride and Prejudice The Musical, Cockpit Theatre, review: ‘Pure filthy fun’

Pride and Prejudice The Musical

Pride and Prejudice The Musical - Credit: Archant

This bawdy panto isn’t one for the kids, but will hit home with London’s 20something demographic, write Hannah McGrath and Imogen Blake.

For single twenty-something female Londoners this riotously filthy panto really spoke to us.

Co writer and artistic director James Walker-Black plays Mrs Bennet as the most outrageously bawdy dame eager to marry off her five single daughters.

The panto villain is Charles Dickens who competes with Jane Austen (Freya Evans) for control over the character’s romantic fortunes.

It’s full of topical references, to contemporary London life and the year’s pop culture with song and dance numbers from Taylor Swift to Caroline Bingley’s Pussy Cat Dolls Dontcha? routine a highlight.

Mr Bingley is played by a charming broom (with Made-In-Chelsea toff accent) perfectly ventriloquised by his creator Austen, and special mention should go to Ella Garland’s thrusting, Lord Flash-heart-inspired Mr Wickham, who brought a hilarious twist to the rollicking tale of his flirtation with sock puppet Lydia. (Sheereen Roushbaiani, who also embodies sisters Kitty and Mary)

As with all good pantos, audience interaction abounds – sometimes rather close to the “bone”, including a memorable blind date skit hosted by Mrs Bennet, where Elizabeth opts for a game audience member (on our night a management consultant who “doesn’t know what he’s doing”).

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Instead she’s awarded a cringy blind date with simpering Mr Collins (David Bullen, also co-artistic director)

With many standout individual performances there’s a clear ensemble chemistry among a cast that brings this low-budget, high-octane panto to life.

The only gripe is that it’s reliant on high levels of audience participation which could be limited when the house isn’t packed to the rafters.

With its adult humour it’s definitely not for kids, shockable grannies or Austen purists but for everyone else it’s a great night out.

Rating: 4/5 stars