Writing fiction in Jane Austen’s time was deemed a frivolous thing and, with this considered, the frivolity of a musical is certainly an appropriate way to present her life.

This engaging new work provides a lovely introduction into the life of Austen for people who may want to learn more about her.

Wryly comical and exceptionally researched, the script by Bernie C Byrnes is love letter to Jane Austen, taking us through key moments of the author’s life and contrasting fickle or unrequited loves with the one true love she chose over all others: writing. Co-writer and lyricist Rob Winlow has composed songs that go beyond merely being entertaining, but cleverly progress the plot (something many musicals fail to do). The songs in themselves are glorious and the performances are splendid.

Annie Kirkman is well cast as Austen. She has the right look and more pertinently, delivers witty, barbed lines without ever appearing too abrasive. Her singing voice is exceptional. Paired with her as a co-student researching a report on Austen, Mark Gillon is endearing as he learns of the gender divide and how Austen was told that woman could not be writers. Doubling in several other roles, he presents clear characters and his singing is beautiful.

Patsy Blower’s Mrs Austen is both infuriating and endearing. Blower has great comic timing, including not-at-all-subtle exits in the hopes of blossoming romance and in her we see the prototype for Pride and Prejudice’s Mrs Bennett and Northanger Abbey’s Mrs Allen.

Tony Osmond is a scene stealer, whether as Austen’s father (a clear prototype for Mr Bennett), a parade of disaffected publishers who refuse to accept a woman’s work or as the rather dashing Dr Preston, a love interest who evokes the inspiration for Northanger Abbey’s Mr Tilney in a delightful conversation with Austen on social protocols and the properties of muslin.

Matthew Gould’s staging is simple and little set is needed to tell this story, although I can see the potential for a larger-scale production in the future.

The framing of two students working together on a school project about Austen’s life is not the type of device I am usually a fan of- but in this instance it works and serves to provide a contemporary reference point, also offering us the possibility of a developing romance.

This engaging new work provides a lovely introduction into the life of Austen for people who may want to learn more about her. For confirmed Austen fans, there are added treats in those familiar lines of dialogue and the character inspirations woven in. A most diverting way to spend an hour.

Reviews by Emma Gibson

theSpace @ Venue45

Love and Information by Caryl Churchill

C venues - C nova


theSpace on the Mile

The Beanfield

Pleasance Dome

The Hampstead Murder Mystery!

theSpace on the Mile

Marching for Necie

Paradise in The Vault

Women of the Mourning Fields


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

Austen is a new musical exploring Jane's own, little known, real life romances and her struggle to become a published author in a male dominated industry. Based on an original idea by Rob Winlow, it has been re-written by both Winlow and multi-award winning writer/dramaturg Bernie C Byrnes. Austen's professional cast is directed by emerging London director Matthew Gould with an all London-based cast.

Most Popular See More


From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Back to the Future - The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Frozen the Musical

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets