Review: Mansfield Park at the Grand Theatre Blackpool

MansfieldPark_Pete Ashmore & Ffion Jolly[1]

Tuesday evening saw the opening night of The Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds adaption of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park at the Grand Theatre.

Mansfield Park is one of Austen’s most challenging novels and tells the story of young Fanny Price who is uprooted from her humble family home and dropped into the bustling, aristocratic household of her uncle, Sir Thomas Bertram. Fanny then finds herself buffeted from one crisis to the next in the company of her cousins and their well-to-do friends. Yet throughout this turmoil one thing remains a constant; her love for the generous, worthy and steadfast Edmund Bertram.

But will this love be her salvation? Or will she be forced to marry the charismatic Henry Crawford for connections and wealth alone?

Ffion Jolly is a charming, quietly feisty Fanny,  much put upon by the insensitive Mrs Norris in the overbearing voice of Julie Teal. Geoff Arnold really shines as a bumbling Mr. Rushworth, the boring but rich suitor of Mansfield’s eldest daughter Maria Crawford. Arnold had the challenging task of juggling two other quite different roles: Mr Rushworh and William Price which he managed very convincingly.

The stage sets’ simple and pared back pergola allowed for the swift and clever transformation across many years and several locations during the two hour production. The period dance sequences added a charming touch of authenticity to the production.

See Mansfield Park at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre until Saturday 12 October. Call the Box Office on 01253 74 33 39 or visit blackpoolgrand.co.uk.

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