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Fun staging of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey begins in Diss

PUBLISHED: 09:16 13 April 2019 | UPDATED: 09:16 13 April 2019

Cyphers Theatre Company begin their tour of Northanger Abbey at Diss Corn Hall. Picture: Petros Poyiatgi

Cyphers Theatre Company begin their tour of Northanger Abbey at Diss Corn Hall. Picture: Petros Poyiatgi

Archant

It is a truth universally acknowledged that we can’t seem to get enough of Jane Austen adaptations. And while the likes Pride & Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility are familiar on stage and screen, the latest coming to Diss is a staging of the less familiar Northanger Abbey.

Cyphers Theatre Company begin their tour of Northanger Abbey at Diss Corn Hall. Picture: Petros PoyiatgiCyphers Theatre Company begin their tour of Northanger Abbey at Diss Corn Hall. Picture: Petros Poyiatgi

A slighter, earlier work, Northanger Abbey is more broadly satirical and less finely nuanced than Austen’s later acknowledged masterpieces, but it just these qualities that translate so well on stage.

Naïve Catherine Morland has grown up in the country, with on a fascination with Gothic novels and pop culture to inform her of life beyond the village. Leaving home for the first time, she is taken to Bath where she meets the charming Tilneys.

Misunderstandings about her fortune lead to an invite to be their house guest at Northanger Abbey where she expects brooding heroes, ruthless bandits and glorious adventures to await her.

Cyphers Theatre Company begin their tour of Northanger Abbey at Diss Corn Hall. Picture: Petros PoyiatgiCyphers Theatre Company begin their tour of Northanger Abbey at Diss Corn Hall. Picture: Petros Poyiatgi

Reality is more complicated and Catherine discovers that friends can hurt, heroes aren’t always nice, and evil is sometimes just a point of view.

Cyphers Theatre Company, whose previous productions include Three Musketeers and Great Expectations, begin their 2019 spring tour at the Diss Corn Hall on April 20.

Their timeless adaptation of Austen’s novel about growing up and getting it all wrong comes in their accessible style with a cast playing multi-roles and fast-paced action.

Abigail Morgan, who plays Catherine Morland, said: “There is not some extravagant set and we have people playing multiple roles, men playing ladies. I’m not sure you would necessarily expect that if you were coming to see Jane Austin.”

Howard Horner, whose hose multiple roles include General Tilney and James Morland as well as switching genders to play Mrs Morland and Mrs Thorpe, added: “It is fun — a lot more fun than I think people will expect.”

• Northanger Abbey will be performed at Diss Corn Hall on April 20, 7.15pm, £15 (£12 under-18s), 01379 652241, disscornhall.co.uk

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