REVIEW: Mansfield Park, The Grand Theatre, Blackpool

Peter Ashmore and Ffion Jolly in Mansfield Park, being performed at Blackpool's Grand Theatre.
Peter Ashmore and Ffion Jolly in Mansfield Park, being performed at Blackpool's Grand Theatre.
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Against a backdrop of an aristocratic mansion in which she doesn’t belong, having been uprooted, as is of course the norm in Jane Austen’s novels, Fanny Price’s romantic hopes are raised and dashed as this splendid production of Mansfield Park plays out over three hours of twists and turns under the roof of her oblivious uncle, Sir
Thomas Bertram.

An excellent cast without a weak link portrayed a household in varying stages of love torn crisis and turmoil for close to three hours; to add a spoiler here would be a shame, but suffice to say it’s a must to see this one if you’re an Austen fan.

Fanny Price is delightfully played as the character taken from a large, poor family and thrown into a very different life and her mother offers the play a lovely comic turn.

But the scenes stealer of the evening was Miss Crawford, the lively, attractive house guest whose personality and guile sparked the usual series of romantic entanglements that characterise an Austen saga.

This was a first visit to Blackpool for Mansfield Park, which certainly ranks in popularity as both a novel and a film adaptation behind Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, even among the diehard fans.

But if you love the stage, it’s a drama for anyone and it was good to see Blackpool included on this national tour by the UK’s last-remaining Regency Theatre.

It’s on ‘til Saturday.

HAIDEE WILSON