Everything you need to know about Persuasion at Ally Pally Theatre

This April, Jeff James and James Yeatman’s bold and brilliant adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel will bring all her sharp observation and quick wit to the stage of our Victorian Theatre – but without a bonnet in sight.

What to expect from this version of Persuasion?

This modern take on the beloved romantic comedy is guaranteed without bonnets, breeches, bodices, teacups, flounces, or fuss. What will feature is Jane Austen’s distinctive characters, her keen observations of human relations, her most adult heroine (Anne Elliott is 27, which in the 1810s pretty much counts as ancient), an explosive foam party on stage, and a poptastic soundtrack (more on that later).

The original Persuasion was published posthumously 105 years ago, six months after Jane Austen’s death. In this work, we follow 27-year-old Anne Elliot. Eight years prior to when the story actually begins, Captain Wentworth proposed to her, but she was persuaded out of accepting his proposal by her family because he was penniless, with only love and ambition to offer. This decision haunts Anne, who never quite got over the handsome Captain. Now Wentworth is back, and he’s turned into a serious catch – rich, successful, and single. When circumstances bring the two face to face again, Anne’s forced to confront the past. As old wounds reopen, will Wentworth forgive Anne for rejecting him, and will Anne finally learn to trust her desires?

Find out at Ally Pally this April!


What does it look like?

Photos © Lloyd Winters @ The Other Richard

You mentioned something about the music…

Ben and Max Ringham’s exuberant soundtrack plays a huge role in this production. Get in the mood with our playlist:

What do the reviews say?

⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘Jane Austen meets Lizzo – a mischievously fun modern take.’ – Daily Telegraph

⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘The explosive soundtrack plays at full throttle, the wacky dancing is practically an extra character in its own right and the comic performances are full of exuberant and eccentric flourishes. Joyfully silly.’ – The Guardian

⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘As innovative and funny an interpretation as you’re likely to see.’ – The Stage

⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘Sparklingly intelligent and very funny. Austen would have loved it.’ – The Times

⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘Sublimely funny. A riot of soapsuds and sexual tension. Mines terrific comedy from Austen’s novel by highlighting what is already there and giving it a modern twist.’ – The Telegraph

⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘Makes you wonder why more period adaptations don’t have their characters slipping and sliding in soap and bubbles.’ – What’s On Stage

‘Probably the only Austen staging ever to feature a riotous foam party and voguing – it’s hard not to love it for that.’ – Evening Standard

⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘It’s a hoot — and I was totally persuaded.’ – Georgina Brown (Daily Mail)

⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘Very funny and subversive, makes Austen’s writing feel as modern and relevant as it deserves.’ – Broadway World

Cast & Creatives

By Jane Austen
Adapted by Jeff James, with James Yeatman
Directed by Jeff James  

Sasha Frost Anne Elliot
Fred Fergus Captain Wentworth
Matilda Bailes
Grace Cookey-Gam Lady Russell/Mrs Croft
Helen Cripps
Adam Deary
Edmund Hayter/Captain Benwick/Mr Elliot
Emilio Doorgasingh
Sir Walter/Admiral Croft
Caroline Moroney
Mrs Clay/Henrietta
Dorian Simpson

Ben and Max Ringham Music
Alex Lowde Design

Sasha Frost’s recent theatre credits include Folk (Hampstead Theatre), Red Dust Road (National Theatre of Scotland), Cherry Orchard and All My Sons (Nottingham Playhouse) and The Lightning Child (Shakespeare’s Globe).  Her television credits include His Dark MaterialsFred Fergus’s recent theatre credits include Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (Rose Theatre, UK Tour, Harold Pinter Theatre), Lava (Nottingham Playhouse) and Julius Caesar (The Bridge Theatre). His film credits include Wonder Woman.

When is it on?

This 21st century version of Persuasion will take over our beautiful Victorian Theatre from Thursday 7 April until Saturday 30 April 2022.

How do I book tickets?

Glad you asked! Tickets start from £18 and are available here.