Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley

Spreckels Theatre Company, Rohnert Park
Runs through December 15, 2019

Zane Walters and Karina Pugh. Photo by Jeff Thomas.

How many ways can I say “delightful” and “charming,” or “funny” and “sweet”? All those and all their synonyms apply to the wonderful production of Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley  currently playing at Spreckels Performing Arts Center. A terrific cast and sprightly staging liven up the intimate Condiotti theater, for a thoroughly entertaining show that will put you in the holiday spirit without corn or treacle.

If you’re at all familiar with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, you’ll recognize the first two characters we meet in Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon’s imagined sequel — Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy (Ilana Niernberger and Matt Cadigan), newly married and now residing on the extensive Darcy estate, blissfully happy after their previously rocky road to romance and marriage. Much to Darcy’s surprise, his wife has installed an actual tree in the drawing room, anticipating Christmas with a new tradition. Jokes abound regarding the tree, as it’s a few years yet before Charles Dickens popularizes the idea in A Christmas Carol.

The Darcys also anticipate the arrival of the Bennet sisters and parents for holiday celebrations— first to come are pregnant Jane (Allie Nordby) and her husband Charles Bingley (Evan Held), with middle sister Mary Bennet (Karina Pugh) in tow. Still-single Mary, bookish and tethered to her pianoforte, appears resigned to spinsterhood although she laments that she never chose that life for herself. Happily married Jane and Elizabeth murmur dissent, but potential mates might be hard to find for one such as Mary. …

To continue reading about this production, see the full review at Sonoma County Gazette:
Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley