"PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, A MUSICAL," SCERA Outdoor Amphitheater, Orem; through Aug. 1 (225-2569); running time 2 hours 45 minutes (one intermission)

OREM — "Pride and Prejudice, a Musical," has an unfortunate combination of too much and too little.

It's too long, with too many songs, too many scene changes and bigger cast than needed.

It's also thin on character development and story line. There's plenty going on and if you're not a Jane Austen fan, it's confusing.

The actors, particularly David Smith (Mr. Darcy), and Britni Bills Smith (Elizabeth Bennet), try hard to bring life to the production. Curtis Goodman (Mr. Bingley) is also good, and Jenni Goodman (Jane Bennet) can sing very well.

But some good acting can't save this show.

For one thing, it's so stop-and-go. There's a scene change, a few lines of dialogue and a song, another scene change, dialogue and another song. There are 11 songs in the first act and seven in the second. And most seem borrowed from other musicals. There's nothing that really sings for itself.

The set is somewhat clever, with big Roman-column-esque pieces that turn around to reveal room settings and such. But the costuming is horrible. The empire-style, mostly cotton gowns all seem cut from one pattern. They fit badly, do little to enhance a character's figure and reveal more than is intended if someone leans over to pick something up.

Throw in technical, opening-night glitches, some second-act line stumbles and several, apparently random, crowded, lackluster dance scenes and it's a mess.

It's hard to tell what is really the problem: The script, written by Deborah Moris with music by Ann Kapp Andersen? The direction? Jerry Elison has done good work in the past. The choreography? There is none apparent.

Maybe it's in trying to boil down a lot of story into a "mere" two and a half hours. (It seemed a whole lot longer.)

Who knows?


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