Review: Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley at Capital Stage

Showtimes: Thu 2pm & 7pm, Fri 8pm, Sat 2pm & 8pm, Sun 2pm & 7pm, Tue 2pm & 7pm; Through 12/30; $28-$38; Capital Stage, 2215 J St.; (916) 995-5464;
Rated 5.0

Last year, Capital Stage introduced the audience to a new Christmas play, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, written by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon. The reaction was so overwhelmingly positive that the company is bringing the show back this holiday season, again under the capable direction of Peter Mohrmann.

The play, written in the style of Jane Austen, is set at Pemberley, Mr. Darcy’s estate, where he and wife Elizabeth have been living and have decided to host a family Christmas to reunite everyone.

The focus is on middle sister Mary (Elyse Sharp), who got short shrift in Austen’s novel. She’s the bookish spinster, uninterested in the frivolous romantic adventures of her sisters and resigned to never finding someone who matches her exacting standards. Enter Darcy’s cousin, Arthur deBourgh (Aaron Kitchin), another bookish introvert. These two are so accustomed to hiding their feelings, it is amazing what sparks fly (despite all the problems that arise) before the end of the play.

The cast includes all the familiar characters from Pride and Prejudice, and all but two of the actors are returning after playing their roles in 2017.

Eric Broadwater’s set is as beautiful as I remembered, and the tree that gets decorated throughout the show adds a wonderful holiday flavor.

This is a departure from many traditional holiday plays, but is just a delight, and it’s nice to have it back again.