Building on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, The Wickham’s: Pemberley at Christmas is a cute, clever play. Impetuous, silly Lydia is still head over heels for her her heel of a husband George Wickham, who’s still philandering and gambling, though she doesn’t see it. She believes her husband really is away working hard to earn a fortune for her.
Ha! Wake up, Lydia.
Set in the kitchen of Pemberly, Darcy’s family estate, the story revolves around poor Lydia’s awful marriage with a subplot about a new kitchen maid and her old friend, Brian who aspires to be an inventor. Modern themes of women working and innovation flavor the story.
Elizabeth is in a tizzy because her silly relatives may spoil a well-ordered Christmas, which has been the norm at Pemberly. Things take a turn for the worse when George Wickham, cad extraordinaire surprises the family when he shows up drunk and disorderly after a bar brawl. The housekeeper, staff and Elizabeth try in vain to keep him under wrap, which never works out in a holiday tale.
What’s worse is minutes later the maid discovers an incriminating letter in Wickham’s pocket. Secrets are revealed and scandal must be avoided — if it can.
This play is the second in a trilogy, but you can follow the plot if you missed the first one and perhaps if you haven’t read or seen Pride and Prejudice, but if you haven’t read Pride and Prejudice, you certainly should. It’s a favorite of mine.
The costumes and setting were spot on. The acting was good, though Wickham and Darcy seemed too stiff. Jane Austen’s wit is perfect and I can’t say the writing measured up to Austen, but it was fun. The characters were modernized to appeal to current playgoers, which I didn’t need. Still the show as clever and charmed me.