Persuaded is very loosely based on Jane Austen’s novel of a similar name. Sam Elliot is the forgotten sister of three siblings who had been assumed to be alone forever by her family. However everything changes when she meets Kate Wentworth. With all the complications of modern day life, this whirlwind romance doesn’t go without its bumps along the way. Throughout this, the play attempts to tackle common but emotional issues such as dementia and death whilst also seeming light hearted and humorous.
The split stage layout works for most of the show, albeit occasionally crowded on stage when the entire cast are present. Writer Claire Ramster has set out to create a modern day take on the classic novel; however I can’t say it was completely successful. Some elements such as the choice to have Sam and Kate both women was a bold choice which I was thoroughly impressed by, but on the other hand setting the Elliot family in such an upper class background made the entire play a bit less believable. Particularly, because Sam’s best friend Becks Russel consistently swore at least three times every opportunity she was on stage.
I was unconivced by this story, and I'm pretty sure the actors shared my view. Some of the characters seemed under-developed and it all seemed a bit unprepared. Small mistakes can be excused, but when the curtains open twice by accident and Sam attempts to pretend to paint a black curtain with white paint, you start to get slightly nervous for what will happen next. Not that it was all bad news, Bryony Nurse as Marianne Elliot-Noble was extremely funny as the exhausted and stressed out mother of twins. Chelsea Newton Mountney as Becks Russel was also very amusing, especially in the second half when the constant swearing wore off. I was also impressed by the choice of music. However, aside from these small factors, I can’t say this play worked and I am still not persuaded.