Presented by Esther Longhurst and Jess Mess, Sense and Spontaneity is an improv show which changes night to night. In true Jane Austen fashion however, the women keep to the traditional problems facing Austen women: they are headstrong and in want (or just lacking) a husband.
Thursday’s show began with an interview, of sorts, as two audience members were pulled up on stage to outline their relationship and perceptions of one another. This formed the basis for the show, one woman taking on the role of Jessica Smith, a girl who was fierce like stormy water, but also contained like a lake. She was strong minded and strong willed—the perfect Austen heroine.
With the heroine created the story just fell into place as Miss Jessica Smith, escorted by her childhood playmate-come-nemesis, Mr. Roberts, travels to London to seek a suitable match in society. Practically a spinster at twenty-four, Jessica is quickly taken in by Mr. Greyhat, a man who admires her strong mind, wit, and creative practices. However, soon after the marriage is announced it is Roberts who reveals that Greyhat isn’t all he seems—a drinker, a gambler, and a Casanova.
Interspersed pop-culture references, both Esther and Jess keep the audience on their feet, never knowing whether the show will keep to Austen form or show that not only is poetry the food of love, but so too is dancing as the show fell away into a dance off.
With a variety of hats and an easily perceptible change in personalities, both women display their talents in improv with their ability to keep track of their characters and take any malfunctions in their stride. Entirely entertaining.
Words by Kayla Gaskell.
Sense and Spontaneity will be playing at 6:30pm on the 16th, 17th, and 18th of February at the National Wine Centre. Tickets are available here.