Hats, Dance, and Spontaneous Laughter: SENSE AND SPONTANEITY

4 stars

SENSE AND SPONTANEITY is a light-hearted and hilarious love letter to Jane Austen.

The packed theatre is delighted with the antics of these two wonderful comedic actors as they spin an Austen-inspired tale about love, friendship, and a woman’s defiant ambition for a career in an era where women’s choices are limited to governess, marriage, or death.

Of course, it wouldn’t be an Austen tale without a tidy and felicitous ending.

Image courtesy of FRINGE WORLD

Image courtesy of FRINGE WORLD

The show begins with Esther Longhurst  and Jessica Messenger plucking two people from the crowd to answer a series of questions—their responses then forming the basis of the duo’s completely improvised tale.

Longhurst and Messenger don various hats throughout the performance to transform themselves into the gamut of Austen-style characters, ranging from an Elizabeth Bennet to a Catherine de Burgh, and a Colonel Brandon.

This clever, and often comical, device allows for a full cast of characters to flesh out the performance.

The duo play off each other organically to shape their improvised narrative, expertly weaving in the characterisation provided by the audience and treating the crowd to all the moments of an Austen novel they have come to expect: balls, proposals and misunderstandings.  

Skilfully harnessing the conventions of Austen’s novels, Longhurst and Messenger give the audience the quips, commentary, and sharp wit of the great lady herself but with a hilarious and modern frankness that elicits laughter, cheers, and applause throughout the show.

While a spoof, with its improvised contemporary dance, jokes about dying after a walk in the rain, and the difficulty of travelling fourteen miles SENSE AND SPONTANEITY maintains the sensibility of Austen’s quick-witted observations of women’s lives in the early nineteenth century—some of which are still relevant today.

This show is a wonderful reinvention of classic literature for a modern audience that will make Austen fans of those not already in the club.

Tickets available at the FRINGE WORLD website.