Katheryn Bogley and Ricky Spaulding in “The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley” at Taproot Theatre. Credit: Robert Wade
Set two years after the events in Austen’s classic novel “Pride and Prejudice,” the play focuses on several of the novel’s main characters, but also follows the story of the Pemberley estate’s loyal staff. Mrs. Reynolds (the housekeeper), Brian (the footman) and Cassie (the new housemaid) all struggle to keep a secret that just might ruin the holidays for everyone in the house, while also working toward fulfilling their own dreams.
The bottom line
This is a fun, mostly lighthearted, character-driven tale where everyone gets what they deserve in the end, for better or for worse. The language and pacing feel like an English period piece. If you have an Anglophile in your house who can’t get enough of “Bridgerton” or “Downton Abbey,” this holiday show will be a treat for all of you.
“The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley” plays through Dec. 30, 2022, with five or more showtimes per week.
Jane Austen background
While you can certainly enjoy the show with no prior Jane Austen knowledge, a quick character refresh wouldn’t hurt.
This is a standalone story outside of “Pride and Prejudice,” but there are references to characters who never make an appearance on the stage, and it is clear that the characters you do see have long and complex backstories. I would suggest a quick peek at the cliff notes before the show.
Taproot Theatre is an ideal venue for this type of show. The play is on the theater’s Jewell Mainstage, which has a thrust stage — seats wrap around three sides — and you will never be more than 30 feet away from the action. Many seats are within just a few feet of the stage, offering an up-close professional theater experience that is rarely possible (or affordable) at larger theaters.
I found the cast to be excellent all around, and I particularly enjoyed the performances of Kathryn Bogley, who played the housemaid Cassie, and Ian Bond as the smooth-talking scoundrel, George Wickham.
The theater recommends this show for ages 10 and older. There is nothing scary or inappropriate. Married adults kiss a few times, one actor is drunk for a few minutes and there is talk of an unwed pregnant woman (scandal!). But all the characters are adults and the story revolves around people falling in or out of love. The content might not be super interesting to younger children.
So while it is appropriate for kids as young as 10, I think teens and adults will get the most enjoyment out of this story — another great reason to sign up for TeenTix. Enjoy the show!
If you go…
When: “The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley” is on stage now, and plays through Dec. 30, 2022.
Tickets: Tickets are $25–$53 with the least expensive shows on weekdays. Purchase tickets online (soon!) as some shows are already sold out. Buy online.
Safety: Masks are required for everyone, the entire time you are in the theater.
Run time: Run time is about two hours with a 15-minute intermission.