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 Raves for Innocent Diversions

 

Holiday Spirit Descends on Austenland - New York Times 

There's so much that's wonderful about this imaginative show. Set in

December 1803, a wildly excited Jane Austen presides over holiday

theatricals at a celebration for family and friends at a Hampshire country estate

. - Back Stage 

Innocent Diversions, the Jane Austen-style holiday fare from Theater Ten Ten,

written, adapted, and directed by Lynn Marie Macy, is an absolute delight.

- nytheatre.com 

Now for something completely different: How would you like to be a guest at

the country house of the Bigg-Wither family, neighbors of Jane Austen and her

family, and join in the Christmas after-dinner entertainment?

- stagestrucknyc.com 

Jane Austen fans and scholars need not read any further; they are more or less required to attend "Innocent Diversions: A Christmas Entertainment With Jane Austen and Friends," ? if it's Austen, attention must be paid. - New York Times 

The novelist, interpreted as brilliant, vivacious, and fun-loving by charismatic Karen Eterovich, leads friends and family through songs and comedic renderings of letters, novels, stories, plays, and poetry, all re-created with vigilant attention to historical detail by playwright-director Lynn Marie Macy from Austen's early writings. Back Stage 

The talented cast is charming and chipper and well directed by Macy. Notably, there is the robust Chelsea Jo Pattison, as the child Fanny Austen, whose performance conveys a sense of fun and a high-spirited pluck. Kudos also to strong comic actress Talaura Harms as Madam Anne Lefroy. -nytheatre.com 

Theater Ten Ten (at Park Avenue and 84th Street) gives fans of Jane's novels a chance to get a fair taste of what such innocent holiday entertainments were like in the days before TiVo, DVDs, and video games. - stagestrucknyc.com 

Lynn Marie Macy, who wrote, adapted and directed the show, has taken some of Austen's earliest writings - juvenilia, basically - and fashioned them into a fictional Christmas show staged in 1803 by Austen, family members and friends. Correspondence is read aloud ("A Letter From a Worldly Woman to the Daughter of Her Friend"), poems are recited, stories are enacted, a few songs are sung. A recurrent theme is - surprise - marriage prospects from the female perspective. - New York Times 

The versatile 11-member cast -- evoking everything from dour maids to pretentious country gentlemen -- is on a par with those in big-budget period films. Dialect coach Annalisa Loeffler elicits near-perfect English accents. - Back Stage 

The writing here displays a true appreciation and dedication to Austen's wit and social satire. -nytheatre.com 

 

Foreground left to right: Karen Eterovich, Judith Jarosz, Christopher Michael Todd 
Background left to right: Chelsea Jo Pattison, Denise Alessandria Hurd, Talaura Harms 
LAB Photography 

 Lynn Marie Macy, the playwright, has borrowed from the juvenile writings of Jane Austen as well as biographical facts and intuitions about the author and her family and friends to stitch together this entertainment - stagestrucknyc.com David

 

Arthur Bachrach, as Austen's father, has a fine time with a bit of doggerel called "Verses to Rhyme With 'Rose,'" and the whole troupe gets involved in a daffy (at least for 1803) skit titled "The History of England." - New York Times Deborah

 

Wright Houston's costumes are exquisite: gorgeous brocades, rich velvets, lace shawls, white gloves, jewels, lush topcoats, white high-button shirts, vests, and riding boots. - Back Stage Luxurious period costumes are designed by Deborah Wright Houston, and there is a cozy, elegant set by David Fuller. - nytheatre.com 

 

It has charm for anyone with an interest in Austen or a yen to be a tourist at the turn of the 19th century in England - Stagestrucknyc.com The actors, led by Karen Eterovich as Austen, are fine, and Ms. Macy contrives for Austen's real-life romance to intrude on the fake Christmas show near the end, livening things up. - New York Times 

 

David Fuller's set, framed by bone-colored panels, evokes the warmth and elegance of an early-19th-century English-manor Christmas with fireplace, candles, overflowing holly, patterned rugs, and antique desks. - Back Stage 

 

Overall, this is an absolute charmer. It is in fact exactly what it sets out to be: an innocent diversion. -nytheatre.comme. It's easy.

© 2019 THEATER 2020