Reviews - Fringe 2019

Promise and Promiscuity: A New Musical by Jane Austen and Penny Ashton

By Doreen Nicoll
Published July 29, 2019

It's no wonder Promise and Promiscuity: A New Musical by Jane Austen and Penny Ashton played to a full house Sunday afternoon at the Staircase Theatre. Ashton was incredible and her feminist take on Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice was sublime.

You don't need to be familiar with either book to enjoy this musical. Ashton takes the basics of these novels to a new level intertwining references to current day so-called socialites, musicians, and a certain American politician.

Quick witted and able to improvise in a heart beat, Ashton did an outstanding job contorting face and body into so many female and male characters that one soon looses count while never being left guessing which role Ashton has assumed.

A mere 70 short minutes to cover a lot of territory that involves love gained, love lost, and love achieved in the name of gender equity. And, to paraphrase Ashton's Ms. Elspeth who so aptly stated throughout the musical, these were all trifles women won't need to worry about 200 years from now. If only that were true.

Doreen Nicoll is a feminist and a member of several community organizations working diligently to end poverty, hunger and gendered violence.


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