Northanger Abbey, A Romantic Gothic Comedy

Picnic at Beechen Cliff from Northanger Abbey, A Romantic Gothic Comedy

Picnic at Beechen Cliff from Northanger Abbey, A Romantic Gothic Comedy

Premise of the Play:

Comedy! Adventure! Romance!…Murder? Lynn Marie Macy’s hilarious adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel follows the adventures of Catherine Morland, a passionate – though impressionable English village girl, who is perhaps too devoted to reading gothic thrillers. Young Catherine hungers for adventure and soon finds it in the fashionable spa resort of Bath. Hosted by Mr. & Mrs. Allen, her wealthy neighbors from home, she is caught up the Thorpe and Tilney family’s social whirl all the while obsessively reading her exciting new novel, Radcliffe’s The Mysteries Of Udolpho. Scenes from the novel, experienced in Catherine’s vivid imagination, are melded with her relatively civil yet equally adventurous real life. The outcome is a swashbuckling coming- of-age journey through Catherine’s two realities, resulting in an unforeseen trip to the mysterious estate, Northanger Abbey. (The play runs two hours and twenty minutes with one intermission)


Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey was written as a satire on the Gothic Romance novels, which were so popular in her day. I was inspired to include Catherine’s Udolpho fantasies in this adaptation because modern audiences are unlikely to be familiar with the work of Radcliffe (who unlike Jane Austen has fallen into relative obscurity). Ann Radcliffe was one of the most celebrated and widely read authors of the period. In her novel Jane Austen’s recurring references to The Mysteries Of Udolpho were reliably based on the presumption that the reader would be well acquainted with the particulars of Radcliffe’s work. In this stage adaptation Miss Catherine Morland and the audience simultaneously discover Radcliffe’s novel. The sharply contrasting worlds of the authors, give free reign to Austen’s wit and comic genius.

A sampling of press quotes:

Theatre 1010 Production*

Theater Ten Ten’s new revival of Northanger Abbey: A Romantic Gothic Comedy is rousing, entertaining theatre. Lynn Marie Macy’s adaptation of both the novel by Jane Austen and The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe is a paragon of its form. This funny and suspenseful production boasts strong writing, expert direction by David Scott, and a crackerjack cast led by the beguiling Tatiana Gomberg. If you need a Jane Austen fix, you could not ask for a better one than this. – Michael Criscuolo,

The playwright Lynn Marie Macy cleverly stages scenes from Udolpho as dream sequences within the action of “Northanger,” which not only acquaints modern theatrical audiences with the conventions of Regency Gothics, it points up the multiple parallels between the two works, both structural and comedic. – Cheryl Klein, Brooklyn Arden

Macy’s insertion of a few key scenes into the script provides an exciting parallel plot and lets the Radcliffe novice in on Austen’s vengeful parody. At the same time, Radcliffe didn’t write rubbish. She gently lectures her female readers on how to demand and rationally argue for their rights. “By what right to you exert this exalted authority over me?’ “Emily” asks—in a tale published just two years after Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman. RL Nesvet Off Off Broadway Review

Since Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors, I sat down to watch Lynn Marie Macy’s adaptation of one of Austen’s classic novels with high standards in mind. But within the show’s first 15 minutes, I was confident that my high expectations were not only going to be met, they were going to be exceeded. – Upper East Side Scene

I can’t recommend Northanger Abbey: A Gothic Romantic Comedy highly enough. It is a superb piece of theatre that will reward all comers who are tuned into its timeless gentility.” – Michael Criscuolo,

Bold yet informed choices by Macy make Northanger Abbey: A Romantic Gothic Comedy a balanced

(Photos: LAB Photography)marriage of integrity and innovation. Austen and Radcliffe fans and newcomers alike should find Northanger Abbey a truly captivating place to visit. – RL Nesvet, Off Off Broadway Review

Macy’s adaptation was cleverly done, interspersing scenes from Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho (a novel that plays a major role in Austen’s original work) with the main plot of Northanger Abbey to perfectly capture the comic elements of Austen’s novel. These additions, along with the hilarious delivery and comic timing of the actors, had the entire audience (myself included) laughing out loud. – Upper East Side Scene

Blue Room Theatre Production*

Catherine uses Udolpho as a kind of template for determining who’s who, leaping from her early 19th century English setting to the fantasy of Radcliffe’s continental-draped dream world. – J o h n W . Young Fine Arts News & Review

At its best, entertainment can teach you something while keeping you amused. Such is the case with the Blue Room Theatre’s current production, Northanger Abbey. – Heather Gamberg, Buzz Editor Chicoer

That modern playwright Lynn Marie Macy has managed a seamless juxtaposition of the two books that is both fluid and hilarious is a marvelous feat. The Blue Room’s current production of Macy’s play effortlessly captures that fluidity and also reaps a lot of out-loud laughs. – “ John W. Young, Fine Arts News & Review

Ultimately in “Northanger Abbey,” Catherine must decide whether she wants to live in the real world or play out a fantasy life. It’s a lesson we still need to learn today. With virtual reality easily available on the Web – like instant messaging and dating services – and the proliferation of reality TV shows …we can easily get swept up in life without really taking part in the nitty gritty. – Heather Gamberg, Buzz Editor Chicoer

Distilled Spirits Theatre Production*

Austen via Macy triumphs as storyteller par excellence. And Macy as adaptor triumphs too, by beguiling us not only with this splendid and compelling tale, but also with a remarkably felicitous depiction of Austen’s world. Northanger Abbey’s got it all…action, adventure, wit and enough plot for half a dozen plays. I urge you not to miss it. Brava! – Martin Denton,

Lynn Marie Macy’s entertaining adaptation is titled Northanger Abbey, A Romantic Gothic Comedy, and it is an ambitious attempt to meld the Austen Novel with Radcliffe’s The Mysteries Of Udolpho, the 18th century tale Northanger Abbey sets out to satirize … this is an ingenious concept.” – Karl Levett, Back Stage

Now the stage is set for Catherine to live vicariously through the adventures of the fictional characters. She actually travels to various places in England, including Bath and Northanger Abbey – an over-romanticized, dilapidated mediaeval castle several miles north of London. But, in her imagination, she is visiting romantic places in France and Italy, complete with the many French and Italian versions of her real-life friends and family. The Mysteries of Udolpho includes duels and over-the-top declarations of undying love from young men Catherine (also playing Emily St. Aubert) meets when she is “in” France and Italy. There are also one or two hauntings thrown in for good measure. Being vulnerable and innocent, Catherine often falls for the tricks others play upon her. You could say that this is a story of a girl growing into true womanhood, dealing with the subtleties of human beings, and told with beautiful language. – Sheila Mart, Off Off Broadway Review

Theater Ten Ten Production Info

Theater Ten Ten Production Info



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s