"Sense and Sensibility" at the Northlight Theater is a pleasant enough affair. The production, adapted and directed by Jon Jory, clips nimbly along, presenting the course of the Dashwood ladies’ lives in succinct, ably executed vignettes. The ensemble does a lovely job with the choreographed scene changes; the set (perhaps a little sparse for the show) consists of a single ornate doorframe, a double door set within, and a number of furniture pieces that come on and off as needed. There is a rather inexplicable arc of crown molding floating above the stage; as a shape it interacts well with the other elements in the design but I struggled to understand how it advanced the story. That aside–the set, lights, costumes, direction, all are extremely competent. The performances are clean, smooth, the actors’ accents are largely impeccable.
Where I question the production is in its very polished nature. I recognize that this is a personal prejudice; truly, I find little fault in the show. But part of what I love about theater are the rough edges - the places in the show where raw, unadulterated, live, present emotion stumbles onto the stage, spills a drink, stares at it, and magic issues forth from it. Jon Jory and his crack squad of theater professionals have made a tight show indeed; and, to be fair, there are moments of connection, where the emotion crackles in the space. Jay Whittaker’s Colonel Brandon, in particular, brings very real cadence to the stage. But on the whole the play drifts pleasantly by, nary a burr or snag to prick the audience and wake them.
Certainly, though, the players and artists are to be commended. This is a lovely production, succeeding admirably in telling a convoluted story with many characters in a brisk manner. Much care is taken to make the story understandable, which is appreciated; there are even family trees in the lobby of the theater, explaining each characters’ relation to the other. All in all, eminently pleasant; and, if that is what you are looking for, then this is the show for you.