2017 marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death and her many fans can celebrate her continued influence and relevance as the acclaimed Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds return to the Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne with a new adaptation of one of her favourite novels Northanger Abbey from Monday 20 to Wednesday 22 February.
Northanger Abbey was the first of Jane’s novels to be completed for publication, but it was published after her death, at the end of 1817. This adaptation by Tim Luscombe is an absolute delight: witty, fast moving and stylish and the perfect way to celebrate this icon.
Catherine Morland loves a good novel and the more ‘horrid’ it is the better. At 17, she’s taken by her aunt to Bath where she encounters the social whirl denied her at home and befriends Isabella Thorpe and her boorish brother, John. She also meets the charming but eccentric Henry Tilney with his sister Eleanor and works hard to get to know them better.
However, John Thorpe has other plans and is determined to have Catherine for himself. Following a string of deceptions, Catherine finally sees through his tricks and lies. When she is invited by her beloved Henry to his home, Northanger Abbey, fact and fiction collide fuelled by the horror of the Gothic fantasy The Mysteries of Udolpho and her wild imagination gets the better of her judgement.
Northanger Abbey is adapted by acclaimed Austen specialist Tim Luscombe, whose adaptation of Mansfield Park was also produced and toured by Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds in 2012 and 2013. It will be directed by Theatre Royal’s Artistic Director Karen Simpson and with an eight-strong cast.
This adaptation was first produced by York Theatre Royal in 2004, Salisbury Playhouse in 2007 (followed by a tour), and in 2010 at the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick, and in 2013 in Chicago at the Remy Bumppo Theatre, with critics calling it “A better watch than it is a read.” (Duelling Critics, Toronto).
Northanger Abbey at the Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne from Monday 20 to Wednesday 22 February with nightly performances at 7.45pm and Wednesday matinee at 2.30pm. Tickets are priced from £18.50 - £24 with concessions available including student tickets at just £9 and under 25’s £10, to book call 01323 412000 or online.