Don’t Miss “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley”

By Chris Narloch

Christmas may be over, but “Christmas at Pemberley,” the wonderfully clever and entertaining play at Capital Stage in Sacramento, is not. You have one more weekend to see a show that could be described as theatrical catnip for fans of Jane Austen.

Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon have written a very inventive sequel involving the beloved characters and relationships from “Pride and Prejudice,” the Jane Austen novel that, more than any other, fueled the current craze for all things Austen.


You’ll remember that at the close of “Pride and Prejudice,” the rollercoaster relationship between Elizabeth and Darcy finally culminated in marriage and a very happy ending.

At the beginning of “Miss Bennet,” three years have transpired, and the happy couple from “Pride and Prejudice” is still very happy -- which means that they are secondary characters in this work, and we have a new central heroine in Mary, the middle Bennet daughter.

Well-played by Elyse Sharp, Mary is an independent-minded, sometimes prickly young woman who chafes at the limited options offered to women by society in early 19th Century Britain.

As soon as a similarly awkward young man named Arthur shows up at Pemberley and he and Mary begin to verbally spar, we know how this story plays out.

The audience has no choice but to sit back, relax, and enjoy the hurdles, complications and witty repartee that precede the happy ending.

The playwrights have created an entirely faithful continuation of Austen’s themes and style (and her sense of humor). If anything, the new work is even more feminist than “Pride and Prejudice,” and I mean that as a compliment.

A talented cast of eight actors has great fun with the play’s sharp dialogue, and I especially enjoyed Brittni Barger (Elizabeth), Aaron Kitchin (Arthur), and Lyndsy Kail (Anne).

“Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley” plays through Dec. 30. For more information, visit

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