John Szablewski Previews

First Look: ‘Sense & Sensibility’ at Irish Classical Theatre

The cast of “Sense & Sensibility” at Irish Classical Theatre.

There seems to be a line drawn in the sand when it comes to the work of Jane Austen. Either you love her work, and want to be engulfed in her stories, or you want to run away screaming as fast as you can. Luckily, when Irish Classical Theatre opens their first show of 2019 “Sense & Sensibility”, you most likely will not run away screaming, you’ll enjoy every minute of it.

“Sense and Sensibility” tells the story of the Dashwood sisters, who have lost their father, and along with his death, they have also lost their wealth, social status, and prospects at successful marriage.

“I have been familiar with the story for a long time” says Chris Kelly, who will be directing this production. “In the 90’s I had fallen in love with the movie, starring Kate Winslet, and Hugh Grant, and for years I wondered why Irish Classical had never done a Jane Austen play before.”

Like many theatre companies, the reliance on keeping an audience is a main priority, and picking a show that might not appeal to the masses can be a huge risk. “ I read this adaptation of the story by Kate Hamlin and then I saw it in New York, and I knew that I had to direct this play,” says Kelly, “We have been talking about this production for over a year.”

Kelly mentions that audience members around him in New York were a little apprehensive about the show, “I remember sitting in the theatre waiting for the show to start, and people around me were murmuring about how they really didn’t want to be there. It sounded like that had been dragged to the show,” Kelly laughs.

The audience will be in for a treat. “The actors play numerous characters in the show, and the set pieces are spread around the stage, all placed on wheels, so the show literally moves,” laughs Kelly. “The scenes move much quicker than you would think. The show is fun and does a wonderful job maintaining the heart of the story.

This show is a great piece of physical theatre as well. There is truly something for everyone in this production.

For those of you who still on the fence, you can rest easy knowing that this production will be anything but dry. “This adaptation hits all of the beats from Austin’s novel, but tells the story in a fresh and fun way,” says Kelly.

“Sense & Sensibility” opens on January 18 and runs through February 10, 2019 and is presented at Irish Classical Theatre. For more information, click here.