Persuasion

As guilty pleasures go, a dose of Austen is probably as guilt free as they come. Frequently re-adapted and re-consumed she may be, but her works remain as comforting as a mug of tomato soup and a fleece dressing gown.

It's polished, relentlessly appealing and brimming with talent.

Stephanie Dale’s adaptation of Persuasion works exceptionally well to trim the novel down to a manageable two-hour production, keeping the pace fairly sprightly but allowing space for the side characters to provide the gentle but much loved comedy typical of Austen. The heroine narrator, Anne Elliot, is the heart of this story and Ceri-Lynn Cissone plays her beautifully. Still and centered, she draws the eye without demanding it and leads us through Anne’s story of youthfully discarded love and its consequences as the years roll on. The suffocating circle of family and society that surround Anne are all played by a small but hugely impressive cast in multiple roles. This works very well to illustrate the claustrophobia of her life but also provides real moments of interest and showcases the strength of the cast. Most striking is the portrayal of both Wentworth, Anne’s erstwhile soulmate, and Mr. Elliot, her villainous potential suitor, by the same actor in the same coat. Jason Ryall’s realisation of these two characters is so authentically different in these roles that it gives an excellent reminder of what acting is actually all about. Lucinda Turner’s perpetually self-absorbed Mary is perfect and she pulls in the laughs although I feel her Lady Russell was a little under developed.

In many ways this is a very straightforward and uncontroversial period play. Some might accuse it of being rather staid and traditionally presented but I would disagree. Under Kate McGregor’s direction it has some beautifully fresh elements. As Anne approaches her epiphany she breaks the fourth wall to plead for help from the cast who respond endearingly. Classical instruments are prominently hung around the set and the cast snatch them up to perform periodically. These pieces are both lovely in their own right and support the narrative throughout, often driving the story or providing the right atmosphere. It easily evokes the drawing rooms of parochial England. The colonnaded set itself by Charlotte Cooke is elegant and allows a dynamic freedom of movement.

Theatre6’s Persuasion won't fit everyone’s idea of an edgy night out at a Fringe festival but for others it will be the absolute highlight. It's polished, relentlessly appealing and brimming with talent.

Reviews by Julia French

Rialto Theatre

The Death of Ivan Ilyich

★★★
Sweet Werks 1

Antigone Alone

★★★★★
Latest Music Bar

Quiz Night: The Musical

★★★
Sweet Dukebox

The O.S. Map Fan Club

★★
The Warren: The Hat

Persuasion

★★★★★

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 £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Theatre6’s world premiere of Jane Austen’s final novel, Persuasion, adapted for the stage by acclaimed playwright Stephanie Dale and directed by Theatre6's award winning Kate McGregor. Anne Elliot was young and in love. Engaged to the dashing but poor naval officer, Commander Wentworth, her ambitious family tore them apart. Years later, the tables have turned and a chance encounter could lead Anne towards the true love she has yearned for or a life forever alone. Filled with live music, drama, laughter and romance from a cast of actors and musicans, Theatre6’s Persuasion is not to be missed. “A rewarding, haunting evening” (The Telegraph)

Most Popular See More

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £13.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Only Fools and Horses - The Musical

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets