Sense & Spontaneity are a Perth-based duo of performers, Jess Messenger & Esther Longhurst, who normally put on an absolutely splendid and highly enjoyable self-titled improv show set in the world of Jane Austen’s fictional realm. And this is said by someone who normally detests Austen’s fiction with the fury of a thousand exploding stars.
Jane Austen: Private Eye is their first scripted show, although I use “their” advisedly, since it is mainly the work of Jessica Messenger, who performs the entire show quite masterfully. It tells the story of a murder mystery, which Jane Austen is perforce forced to solve.
In 1817, mere months before Jane Austen’s death a young woman is murdered after attending a dance. 157 years later in 1975, another young woman attends a dance before meeting an equally grizzly fate. The details are eerily similar, and in 2132 it looks like history will repeat itself again. Out of time, out of place and out of ideas can Miss Austen solve the case before history repeats itself for the third time?
But while I am sure many of you may be fans of Austen’s oevré, You may be asking yourself why is this review in a magazine for science fiction enthusiasts. Simply put, it is not only a mystery that needs solving, but a time-travel mystery that needs solving. And one that doesn’t actually cheat. Not to mention that there are a number of very geeky references scattered through it by someone who is not only an Austen fanatic, but also loves and appreciates science fiction.
If you do get a chance I highly recommend going to see it. You’ll enjoy it. I also recommend their improv show, which is also quite good (but subject to variation each performance). [You may not get a Lord Darkman of Gotham Manor, who strikes Emily as being rather batty.]