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Theater review: 'Sense & Sensibility' scores

Bedlam’s "Sense & Sensibility" features Andrus Nichols as practical Elinor.Ashley Garrett

Bedlam’s “Sense & Sensibility” features Andrus Nichols as practical Elinor.

Except for a few intentionally sour chords on a piano to set a doleful mood, “Sense & Sensibility” hits all the right notes.

It’s goofy, joyous and deeply moving. It’s also a show in which one actor doubles so adorably as a frisky horse that you wish you had a lump of sugar in your pocket to offer him a treat.

Chalk it up to the Bedlam theater troupe’s low-tech and highly engaging and imaginative take on the Jane Austen classic novel of mores, manners and romance.

Adapted by Kate Hamill, the show puts a premium on clever and vivid storytelling. But this “Sense & Sensibility” stays faithful to its source through all the cheekiness.

The twisty tale of the Dashwood sisters — bottled-up Elinor (an exceptional Andrus Nichols) and effusive Marianne (Hamill) — seems familiar and fresh at the same time.

The production is a reminder that a strong point of view and invention trumps a big budget. Elaborate sets? Why bother? Some landscape paintings establish the English countryside. The few sticks of furniture are all on casters and in near-constant motion.

Ten actors, many of whom play more than one role, are just as kinetic. The ensemble is frequently whirling and twirling.

That fits. Love makes your head spin.

Director Eric Tucker bookends his irresistible production with smart choreography. The ensemble morphs from refined 18th-century allemande to freeform modern grooves. Every era comes with mating dances.


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