Being Mr Wickham

Adrian Lukis
Original Theatre
Jermyn Street Theatre

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Adrian Lukis Credit: Michael Wharley

Captivating and sublime!

From the minute Adrian Lukis sat down with his wine, he held the audience in the palm of his hand. His acting was exquisite, the kind of acting where someone has crafted their skill so meticulously that you are riveted by every word, gesture and movement. He could go from looking like a frightened old man to a sexy older gentleman in a twitch of the mouth.

Mr Wickham is a character in Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice who is a charming rogue; think Hugh Grant in Four Weddings and a Funeral. This one-man show imagines Mr Wickham 30 years later, reminiscing, gossiping and defending his colourful life. He is in part entertaining us and in part struggling with becoming an old man.

Plot B is the young lady next door, on the brink of eloping with her lover. What starts out as Wickham’s championing on their rebellion ends with his breakdown as he faces up to being their turn to have fun.

There are plenty of laughs as he updates us on the characters from Pride and Prejudice, explains the back-story to Darcy’s animosity and meanders through various key moments in Austin’s classic with his own unique, if not skewed, interpretation. A wonderful story about Lord Byron, in which Wickham accepts his inferiority, is as clever as it is funny; it identifies him as a support part in history, which he is.

The direction (Guy Unsworth) is precise, but not overcomplicated. With this standard of acting, it doesn't need to be.

Lovable rogue? Vacuous Socialite? Or damaged from childhood abuse? It doesn’t really matter. What matters is the absorbing performance and tightly edited script, which makes it a sublime evening of entertainment. An absolute honour to be close up to an actor this good; you must get tickets, if you can!

Reviewer: Zia Trench

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