Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pride and Prejudice

I admit it.  I'm a complete anglophile. And I'm a sucker for Jane Austen.
I've read most of her books, but I will admit that I'm probably more of a fan 
of seeing her characters come to life on the big screen. 
Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant is swoon worthy.
And when Kate Winslet whispers "Willoughby" with such heartbreak and longing?  I die.
Although I'm completely Team Colonel Brandon.

Erin at Quintessentially English has started a Jane Austen book club.
The first month was Sense & Sensibility.
(I will confess that I cheated and listened to it on Audible.)

This month's book is Pride & Prejudice.  The timing couldn't have been more perfect.
It's the books 200th Anniversary and the Brits have voted Colin Firth's appearance emerging from a lake in the BBC's version of Pride And Prejudice as the most memorable moment in British TV drama.  To commemorate, a 12 foot statue of the dripping wet Mr. Darcy was installed in the Serpentine Lake at Hyde Park a few weeks ago.

One afternoon, Gina and I headed off with our cameras to get some photos.
Alas, the brooding Mr. Darcy eluded us.
However, I will not be denied.  (I think Jane would approve, don't you?)

A few days later, I found myself wandering through a field of English roses
and straight into glorious embrace of my steadfastly loyal Mr. Darcy.
His strong arms enveloped me and he declared his absolute affection forevermore. 
My mother and four sisters wept with joy, spying from a distance.  And then he kis...

Sorry.  Got carried away for a minute there.

Actually, I was with my real-life charming and devoted Englishman on a double date with our friends Heather and Mike.  She's from South Africa and he is her charming and devoted Englishman.
Pride & Prejudice at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

Heather and I were giddy with excitement.
The Brits were appropriately reserved, barely tolerating our excited female chatter.

I can't even tell you what a special night this was.  A night that I will always remember with delight.
For one, the weather was perfect.  Cool and clear with a late night sunset.

Second... Luxury Picnic Baskets!!! A complete splurge but fabulous.

Luxury Picnic Basket

 Pink champagne, strawberries and cream, pâté and crackers, olives, dried fruit and sweets.
Luxury Picnic Basket

  (A much less expensive option is to take your own picnic and 
enjoy it in the park right outside the theatre entrance.)

The fancy food was just not enough for our hearty Englishmen,
so they each grabbed a cheeseburger from the grill for about £8 each.
After a nice dinner under a picnic umbrella it was time to find our seats.
Our clue was the guy walking around ringing a handbell.
Another excuse for Heather and I to gush.  A real handbell!  So quaint. 

Our luxury picnic baskets also came with the four best seats in the house.
 So after ordering our interval drinks we settled in front and center.

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

   I think I was bouncing in my seat.  It's a small outdoor theatre and there isn't a bad seat in the house.  The rotating set was simple but effective, with an actual baby grand piano perched on the lawn.  

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre
It was like sitting in a little nest with trees and birds all around.
There were period dresses hanging in the trees and a bonnet sitting on a chair.
As the sun set, the twinkle lights came on just adding to the ambiance.
I was in heaven. 

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

When all of the characters emerged and that first line was read,
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife,"
tears started streaming down my face.  I know.  I'm hopeless. 

But, I just couldn't believe that I was sitting in a two hundred year old park,
watching a live production of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice,
on the live stage, 
 in London,
with my very own Mr. Darcy.
Somebody pinch me.

Of course the production was fabulous and completely engaging.
The staging was flawless.  They moved around like a dance.
And the casting was perfect.  Did you see that picture of Mr. Darcy that I linked to?

I couldn't wipe the silly smile off of my face as we left.  Matt even enjoyed it.
He entertained me with flowery, old English banter all the way home. 

How can you not love Jane Austen.  So much clever humor.
She was such a precocious and romantic soul. 
Did you hear that she will be going on the new Bank of England ten pound note in 2017?  Can you imagine her reaction to that news?  She would absolutely love it!

I'm afraid that Pride and Prejudice has already ended its run at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre.
However, I have four words for you.
(Tickets start at £25.)

Y'all know I love a good travel moment.
But, the fact that those moments are still happening after 18 months in London?  Thrilling.
I love London, by the way.  Have I mentioned that?

Speaking of moments. 

Royal.  Baby.
It's so special to be here for the birth of a future king,
little Prince George Alexander Louis.
They are such a beautiful little family, aren't they?
I even spent 30 minutes in line/queue  yesterday to get a glimpse
of the official birth announcement at Buckingham Palace.
Royal Baby Announcement at Buckingham Palace

 I'd love to hear your thoughts on Jane Austen.
Are you Team Willoughby or Team Colonel Brandon?


All opinions, photos and writing are my own.

This post is not in partnership with any business or organization.
As always, I promise to be open, honest and transparent with my readers.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.  

 You can find this review and many others in my
London Attraction Guide.


  1. Oh, what a dream! Pride and Prejudice + a park + a fancy picnic basket filled with goodies = I die.

  2. This would be a dream come true experience for me! I am so happy for you!!!! Enjoy your Mr. Darcy! I have my own Mr. Darcy(the american version). ;-)

  3. How fun!! I love Pride and Prejudice!!

  4. I think I am ever so slightly in love with that picnic basket. How AMAZING! Sounds like a great experience! :) You must try and go to Chawton House near Winchester, that's worth a visit too! :)

  5. This is my new favorite post of yours--the English teacher (now retired, of coarse) loves it.

  6. I love the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre. There is just something so magical about it.

  7. Yay for Baby Georgie! Jane Austen would have been a pretty cool modern woman. Plays in the park are always special. Team Colonel Brandon. And that 12 foot tall Mr.Darcy just made my day! :)

  8. Oh that picnic basket looks divine!
    Have you heard of the new movie Austenland with Keri Russell? I have no idea when it came/comes out (living in BFE will do that to you) but it looks really cute :)

  9. The open air theatre looks like a dream and what better way to enjoy it than with a hamper! Seriously, hampers are the definition of enjoying the outdoors in the UK! Love it!

  10. I love those picnic baskets! I didn't realise Pride and Prejudice was being performed in an open air theatre! I would have loved to have seen it. I'm not going to lie I laughed at the 12 foot tall Mr. Darcy statue. I bet Colin Firth absolutely hates it!

    Thanks for linking up and joining the Jane Austen Book Club!

    Erin | Quintessentially English

  11. OH! Team Colonel Brandon ALL THE WAY!!! Alan Rickman is just too delicious to behold <3 (please excuse me while I swoon). But I must admit this post was a treat. I am in love with England and Scotland and Ireland since I was small and I am ashamed to say I only visited London...once :( I am a Jane Austen fan and I read all her books even before watching the movies (lucky me!). Mr. Darcy will always be under the image of Colin Firth (though the statue in the lake does him no justice!) although Matthew MacFadyen is pretty convincing too ;)

  12. Oh man... I need to come back immediately to England, this all sounds too idyllic! 12 foot Darcy?! Yes please!!! Oh and yeah...Colonel Brandon!!

  13. Anda, I love this comment! Yes Team Brandon!! I love hearing from another anglophile!! So glad you are reading and commenting!!! xoxo

  14. There is just something so calm about Colonel Brandon in that film version. sigh. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting, Holly!!!

  15. Let us face it, Alan Rickman is brilliant - although Marianne is not my type of girl I must admit she made the right choice ;)


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