Wednesday, October 11, 2017

'Promise and Promiscuity' by Penny Ashton

11 October 2017

‘Promise and Promiscuity’ is “a new musical by Jane Austen and New Zealand’s Penny Ashton” which we saw at the Stantonbury Theatre in Milton Keynes on Tuesday. In this one-woman fringe show, Penny Ashton creates a mock Jane Austen tale, combining elements from ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘Sense and Sensibility’ with contemporary references and some songs. It’s a very entertaining performance and Ashton is an excellent performer. Her physical movement is particularly impressive and helps her to switch rapidly between multiple characters without the need for props or costumes. In her wordless curtain calls as the main characters we instantly knew who each was meant to be. ‘Promise and Promiscuity’ is clearly a labour of love and demonstrates Penny Ashton’s affection for Jane Austen’s novels, while gently poking fun at them. At times I felt it fell somewhere between satirising Austen and simply re-creating an Austen story – not as cheekily postmodern as the improvised  ‘Austentatious’ (reviewed here in August 2012) but not quite straight Jane Austen either. Nevertheless it was great fun and Penny Ashton is a very likeable performer.

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