What happens to our beloved characters once ‘The End’ is written and the hardback is closed? Once the handsome hero has fallen in love with the stubborn heroine? Once the dastardly villain has been thwarted and the day saved?
That’s the question Being Mr Wickam plans to answer in the hour and a half long, one-man performance, starring the fantastic Adrian Lukis.
Fans of the 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice may recognise Adrian Lukis as the actor who portrayed the rakish Mr George Wickham in the BBC adaption of the beloved classic during his youth.
The play takes an introspective deep-dive into ‘what if’ scenarios of Mr Wickham’s life after the novel, as well as setting the record straight about the character’s lowest moments in the main story.
It daringly takes a bittersweet glimpse into what it’s like to age and reminisce about ‘the good ol’ days’, as the actor himself asks, ‘what happens to a rake when he can’t rake?’
If this adaption does one thing right, it’s humanising the villain without compromising the foundation of the character. It ruthlessly inspects Wickham’s early life and struggles, including his many spats with the infamous Mr Darcy and his father, but also shines a stage light on his many faults. Lovers of the novel will understand Mr Wickham as the man without a conscience, one who lies and steals without remorse… but don’t villains have more fun? George Wickham certainly thinks so.
Adrian Lukis perfectly portrays the charming, if a little vain, Mr Wickham. His humour and good-natured personality perfectly encapsulate a character who finds himself in a phase of his life he had never anticipated experiencing, living the quiet, married life that he had so despised in his youth. He craves that feeling of recklessness as he lives vicariously through the local gossip and goings-on. It’s all so relatable and real that, by the last minute, you can’t help but feel for this man who just wanted to live life to the fullest, only to have gone about it the wrong way.
He’s unapologetic but somehow sincere, it’s, simply put, fantastically written. You never feel the strain of the runtime or the visual monotony of the one-stage set because Lukis is always drawing your eye, always keeping your ears focusing on the words and feelings he’s expressing.
Fans of the novel will be pleased to hear that our favourite characters, like Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett, are discussed throughout the extended monologue and retrospective. We learn all about what the future has meant for them compared to that of Mr Wickham, how the hero and the villain have laid down their swords in favour of serenity and peace in their old age and how, often ironically, history ends up repeating itself.
If you’re looking for a garishly good giggle and a one-night-only deal with the rake of the city, this is the play for you! Unapologetic, unavoidably hilarious and unconditionally heart-warming, this performance is made for all those who find themselves asking ‘what would the villain do?’