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'Pride and Prejudice' Loses in Translation

August 09, 1996|F. KATHLEEN FOLEY

Rose Productions--the theater company responsible for "Pride and Prejudice: A Musical About First Impressions"--should have its dramatic license revoked.

"First Impressions" (the novel's early title) was also the name of the Broadway musical in the late 1950s starring Hermione Gingold, Polly Bergen, Phyllis Newman and Farley Granger (!), which limped along for a few weeks on pure "star" power.

Not to be confused with that production, the current adaptation at the Globe offers no such dubious consolation.

John Barker's thankless staging plods along as best it can. Ron Brown's undistinguished music and Jack Yantz's fantastically witless lyrics (Yantz also wrote the book) are so surrealistically anachronistic that they fall--unfortunately--just short of camp.

None in this large cast rise above the material. Particularly miscast as Elizabeth Bennet, Georgan George Yantz reduces Austen's exquisitely self-possessed young heroine to a simpering ingenue, condemned to warble uncharacteristic numbers such as "Catch a Man."

Ambitious but misguided, this haphazard "Pride" does not do Austen's pristine masterwork proud.

* "Pride and Prejudice: A Musical About First Impressions," Globe Playhouse, 1107 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Ends Sept. 1. $18-$22. (213) 660-8587. Running time: 2 hours, 45 minutes.

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