Jane Austen is Dead

22 Sep

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a critic reviewing a play alluding to Jane Austen will assert their authority by appropriating an obvious famous quotation.

But I’m not a reviewer. I’m what I call a responder.

Any authority I have regarding Austen comes from a course I did at uni. For six months I surrendered myself to six great novels about love. Disappointing – the class consisted of ninety nine women and one gay male couple. It wasn’t only Austen’s prose that awakened my sense of irony.

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But Mel Dodge’s Jane Austen is Dead isn’t just for Austen aficionados and it certainly isn’t gender specific. An exploration of the modern dating and mating game, it’s terrific fun. Dodge’s performance is absolutely brilliant. She plays multiple characters, treating the audience to a heap of hilarious insights and a good sprinkling of poignant moments.

Dodge’s main character is Sophie, who is battling the influence of fiction in her life. Where can Mr Darcy be found?

We need stories. And we need to escape them.

They help us look to the stars. But they don’t get us there.

Or to offer another analogy: when the heart goes a hunting, we shouldn’t treat stories as maps. They don’t actually tell us what’s out there.

Perhaps stories are more like gun sights, helping us zero in on what we want. Violent imagery, I know, but they’re powerful, dangerous things.

Love stories, but never ever trust them.

Veronica Kaye


Jane Austen is Dead

New Theatre

One more show in Sydney – Mon 23 Sept


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