Haven’t read the novel and want to make sure you can follow the farce? Read our summary below. Spoiler alert (but we promise you’ll still be in for all the fun)!
The Bennets have four daughters* (and no sons), and at least one of them has to marry a rich bachelor to ensure the family’s financial security. Mr. Bennet’s estate is entailed, meaning that his estate will go to his nearest male relative upon his death. As Mrs. Bennet sees it, they can’t afford to wait until Dad dies to do something about it, so let the matchmaking begin!
And where better to ensnare a husband than a ball? At the Long family ball, Jane, the oldest and prettiest daughter, quickly falls in love with Mr. Bingley, a wealthy bachelor who’s renting nearby. Lizzy, the second in line, crashes into the even wealthier Mr. Darcy, but neither Lizzy nor Mr. Darcy makes a very good first impression on the other.
Back home, Lizzy is overwhelmed with two more suitors in rapid succession! Mr. Wickham and Lizzy hit it off by sharing their mutual dislike of Mr. Darcy, and things look promising for their next encounter. Mr. Wickham is followed by Mr. Collins, the very same cousin who will inherit the Bennet estate, and he hardly wastes any time before proposing to Lizzy. She rejects Mr. Collins’s proposal, sending him into the arms of Charlotte, a family friend. To make matters worse, Mr. Bingley leaves town, deserting Jane even though all signs pointed to marriage.
Lizzy goes off to visit the newly married Charlotte and unexpectedly runs into Mr. Darcy, but not before she learns that Mr. Darcy was the culprit behind Mr. Bingley’s disappearance. In a sudden twist, Mr. Darcy proposes to Lizzy, who promptly rejects him. Tragedy strikes when Lizzy learns that Lydia, her fourteen-year-old sister, has run away with Mr. Wickham.
Mr. Darcy redeems himself and saves the day by convincing Mr. Wickham to marry Lydia and by reconciling Mr. Bingley and Jane, but not before Mr. Darcy’s aunt arrives to tell Lizzy to stay away from her nephew. It’s a final showdown of matrimonial proportions!
*This stage adaptation has four Bennet sisters, rather than the original five sisters from Jane Austen’s novel.
–Mary Allison Joseph