Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.
CP: So happy you finally went to see a play-that-wasn’t-a-musical. What possessed you? Did it have anything to do with the Guthrie’s casting of “Mad Men” star Vincent Kartheiser in the marquee role of Fitzwilliam Darcy?
RN: Of course it did, along with, I’m guessing, half the audience at my sold-out performance, although my everlasting love of “Pride and Prejudice” was another lure. Come to think of it, I wonder if anyone has ever thought of “P&P: The Musical”?
CP: You would ask that. I thought I learned you: Words are to be spoken, not inexplicably sung by Bernadette Peters.
RN: She would make a divine Lady Catherine de Bourgh.
CP: What are your notes on this adaptation of the Austen novel, as directed by Joe Dowling?
RN: It only reaffirmed my undying adoration of Guthrie anchor Sally Wingert. I would happily pay good money to watch her read “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” — or the phone book. You?
CP: Her Cruella de Bourgh, complete with a spit curl plastered to her forehead, was deelish. But I found myself teetering between the clowning parts and the romance. It was like sitting Center Court at Wimbledon, watching a finals match between Burlesque and Lovelorn.
RN: Yes, at one point the broadly played comedy made me wonder if the cast was going to start running in and out of slamming doors. You know, Mack Sennett meets Regency England.
CP: Any minute, the bellowing, marriage-obsessed mom (Suzanne Warmanen) could quite reasonably have slapped someone with a fish or lit an exploding cigar. But here, so much depends on Elizabeth and Mr. D. Whadja think?
RN: Mr. Kartheiser — TV’s most Emmy-worthy actor — captured Mr. Darcy’s reserve and disdain. I sort of adored Ashley Rose Montondo as Our Heroine. There wasn’t a lot of heat between them, but with Austen, is there ever?
CP: When Darcy at last proposes, it’s like one of those insincere apologies: “I’m sorry that you took my disagreeable behavior the wrong way, due to your thin skin.” Kartheiser performed ably, but was too muted for my taste. And, not his fault, he did not seem physically right for the part.
RN: It’s not easy to step into the boots of Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen, the most recent and indelible Darcys in TV and the movies.
CP: I agree that Montondo’s proto-feminist Eliza was delightful, especially when she cranked up her strong opinions in the second half.
RN: Here’s to more outspoken females on the Guthrie stage. Played by Sally Wingert, natch.
Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib