“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” It’s a line written 200 years ago by author Jane Austen which has been voted by some as the funniest one-liner in the English language.
Add to some of the best literary comedy of all time a multitude of jokes about balls, lyrics from Bon Jovi sung to the tune of Beethoven, and one woman playing all the parts at once, and you’ve got the latest, uproarious Austen adaptation from New Zealand comedian Penny Ashton.
Promise and Promiscuity: a new musical by Jane Austen and Penny Ashton – on as part of the New Zealand International Comedy Festival – takes listeners on a romp through the fortunes of Miss Elspeth Slowtree as she battles literary snobbery, her mother’s nerves and Cousin Horatio, all armed with a superior wit, blushing countenance and generally being quite bright… you know, for a girl.
Penny Ashton talks to Radio New Zealand’s Charlotte Graham about the pop cultural fascination that still surrounds Jane Austen.
Listen to the full interview, in which Penny talks about creating the show, how to get more women into comedy, dealing with hecklers, and the mixed fortunes of touring comedy.
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