With the success of: Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberly — playwrights Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon wrote not really a sequel but another chapter. On Sunday December 15, 2019, another Janeite friend and I, attended a lively performance, again at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre in Lowell, Massachusetts.
This time the plot centers on the Wickhams — Lydia and ahh yes the man himself but I will not stray into spoilers but to note this play also incorporates storylines from below stairs, about Mrs. Reynolds the housekeeper and a few other staff members — perhaps the authors are taking cue from the popularity of Downton Abbey and it’s both upstairs/downstairs characters and plot lines.
A lot of Jane Austen fair is watered down, and many scholars lament some of the Jane Austen Universe spin offs in novels, that are often now adapted for television, or just the poorly adapted teleplays being produced for Christmas on the Hallmark Channel here in the US. Hallmark has definitely been cranking out the movies to belie the competition and raiding some Jane Austen classics in the most superficial way in the name of having the largest number of new movies for consumers.
It is wise here to note, more is not always the best thing — quality over quantity, etc.
This play is a fresh take on things and where navigating the Wickhams and devising a satisfying plot line and resolution can be in the most honest terms difficult to impossible — especially to please all degrees of Austen readers — personally I thought it was most enjoyable. It was a nice a break in the middle of hectic holiday preparations.