First produced at Salisbury Playhouse, 2011
At 18, Anne Elliot was persuaded to part from her beloved Captain Frederick Wentworth. Now, at 27, she believes her destiny is to live off the memories of the few short months of happiness they experienced together. But, as the Napoleonic Wars are ending and the Navy returns to land, everything that was considered unsuitable about Captain Frederick has proved unimportant. His intemperance and recklessness have won him promotion at sea, and the prizes he’s seized for himself off the Indies have rendered his lack of ancestry incidental. He’s come back to marry. Will Anne get a second chance?
This stage version is faithfully, but not slavishly adapted from Jane Austen’s last novel and great satiric masterpiece, Persuasion. It honours Austen’s biting wit, astonishing insights and inspiring dialogue, and, in a spirited, fast-paced narrative, relishes all the most cherished characters of the novel; from vain, snobbish Sir Walter and the hypochondriac Mary, to the brutal, scheming Mr Elliot and the home-loving Crofts.
The play, as the novel, with its concerns for all matters martial and marital, lets lose an indirect and ironic attack on love, youth, rank and power, while celebrating romantic constancy in an age of turbulent social change.
Luscombe’s intelligent doubling gives us more then twenty characters from ten players – a fairly good return in terms of artistic productivity in an age of economy.
Following the success of Luscombe’s rendering of Northanger Abbey, his new adaptation of Austen’s last work is both colourful and touching.
With the arrival of Tim Luscombe’s version of Persuasion it would seem that Austen fans have found their champion.
Luscombe invents crisp dialogue and flashbacks to express Anne’s inner life. He does the novel’s jokes credit, and adds a couple of priceless ones of his own. It is very Austen: handsome, literate, eloquent….