Theatre Workshop of Nantucket Cast of Sense & Sensibility
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Sensational Adaptation

Theatre Review: Sense & Sensibility

by Suzanne Daub

Lively and entertaining with a dash of lunacy: Theatre Workshop of Nantucket’s current production is playwright Kate Hamill’s playful version of Sense and Sensibility.

This theatrical adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel is a contemporary take on navigating love, loss, and societal expectations in 18th-century England. Hamill’s script gets to the heart of the story while bringing a fresh and energetic perspective to this very well-known comedy of manners. In the talented hands of TWN’s Producing Artistic Director Justin Cerne, Sense and Sensibility does not disappoint! From the surprise dropped in the opening scene, under Cerne’s direction, this is a fast-paced, dynamic, high-quality production. He deftly handles the quick changes and controlled chaos of the play, never losing the audience in the bedlam.

The brilliant cast fully delivers on the humor, drama, and romance as the play explores themes of family, friendship, and the balance between sense and sensibility. Actors Erica Knight and Chelsie Sutherland, as loving opposites Elinor and Marianne, carry the show, expressing sibling tension amid the stresses of society with empathy and energy. Michael Judson Berry is entertaining in the comedic role of the endlessly anxious and awkward Edward Ferras. Audiences will love to hate Katherine Schaber’s shamlessly scheming Fanny, even as she cuts off the Dashwoods, and Nicole LeBlanc is only slightly more sympathetic as the manipulative social climber who comes between Elinor and Edward.

No strangers to the Nantucket stage, Pam Murphy and Peter Sendelbach are hilarious as Mrs. Jennings and Sir John Middleton, with perfect timing and depth beyond the comedy. Casey Sayre Boukus is expressive and effective as the overbred Lady Middleton, and her costume design firmly sets the play in the Regency Era, while conveying details about each character.

Half-dozen or so of the 15 actors are double-cast as “Gossips,” delivering additional comic relief as they guide the audience through the plot.

Anyone familiar with Jane Austen’s novel knows her landscapes and varied settings, from the English countryside to London, estates to cottages, sitting rooms and dining rooms. Jeffrey Petersen succeed in expressing it all with just a single intricate set design that includes impressive floor to ceiling craftsmanship in painting, carpentry, and textiles to recreate the feel of the Regency Era.

Theatre Workshop of Nantucket has delivered yet another sensational show to open the 2024 season. Their production of Kate Hamill’s adaptation engages modern audiences while staying true to Austen’s timeless tale—it’s sure to please both Austen buffs and those new to her novels.

Sense and Sensibility runs through June 22: tickets at

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