Review: Austentatious, at Bristo Square

Austentatious is a fun, witty, improvised show which promises to entertain Jane Austen fans and ‘muggles’ alike. Watching a cast who are themselves enjoying the performance is always a great start, and the cast of Austentatious certainly seemed to be having fun on stage. The show is a safe bet for sixty minutes of entertaining improvisation.

As Austentatious is entirely improvised, every show is different. I was among the privileged few who were able to glimpse the one-night-only performance of Emma: the Final Frontier. It was a story which demonstrated just how far ahead of her time Austen really was, and which had a more feminist conclusion than some of the novelist’s real better known creations.

When I saw Austentatious, it started off a little slow, but soon warmed up – and, by the end of the production, the audience had fully bought into Emma’s plight. This show isn’t necessarily the kind of funny that will hurt your sides, but it nevertheless got a lot of big laughs – which only increased in volume as the show went along.

As I think is usually the case with improvisation, the funniest moments in Austentatious are those in which things appear to have ‘gone wrong’, and the performers are required to come up with elaborate ways of forcing everything make sense again. The cast of Austentatious play with those moments expertly.

An on-stage pianist provides musical accompaniment throughout the show, which works fantastically to build atmosphere and underline humour.

If you’re a fan of improvisation or Jane Austen, there will certainly be no shortage of things for you to enjoy and admire about this production. If, like me, you’re a fan of both – then I’d fully recommend that you bump Austentatious up your Fringe ‘to see’ list.

You can catch Austentatious at McEwan Hall in Bristo Square, until the 25th August, at 1pm. Tickets can be booked here.


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Image credit: Robert Viglasky Photography

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