Thursday 8 November 2018

Emma by Jane Austen

So many people and things about this production of Emma endeared it to me before I even started it. Reviewers I trust awarded it lots of stars, the vocal cast are highly rated, and the story is one of my all time favourites. 

I started on a car trip (as one does) and was instantly captivated by Emma Thompson's narration. She is delightfully quirky, without seeming to try too hard, and this sets the tone for the other voices - all perfectly cast, and pitch-perfect. You can sense the personal enjoyment they experienced, as well as the fact that they respect each others' talent and support it.

Emma Woodhouse, the young lady that Jane Austen created - "a heroine whom no one but myself will much like" turned out to be very well loved by many. In the first sentence, she introduces the title character as "Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich." She also has a penchant for meddling - or matchmaking, as she calls it, and thinks she is very good at it. She lives alone with her father, who is way too indulgent, and she cares for him. Mr Knightley, her one friend who is always painfully honest with her, doesn't fail to point out the errors of her meddling manners, and as she fails to match Harriet with Mr Elton, herself with Frank, Jane with Mr Dixon, he has a lot to work on.

I thoroughly enjoyed the scenes portrayed in the village of Highbury - it was reminiscent of the radio serials I used to listen to as a child with our family's domestic helper every day during the school holidays. I loved the drama, the music, the sound effects, and it is such a good way of bringing a story to life while still including the reader's imagination in the process. There were a few instances where the background clinking and tick-tocking of the grandfather's clock were more annoying then enhancing, but they were minor irritations.

4 stars

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