Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday, August 16, 2013 3:11 pm by M. in , , , , , , ,    No comments
A few more reviews of Shanghai Ballet's Jane Eyre production currently on stage in London:
Performed with clarity of character if not narrative this is an evening of spellbinding sequences rather than a authoritatively structured whole.
But the accumulation of detail adds up to a work that is never less than engaging.
The selection of music is eccentric, ranging from medieval dances to Barber's Adagio For Strings. And what's Greensleeves doing in there? (...)
f you want to see a good example of cross-cultural fertilisation look no further. (Neil Norman in Daily Express)
It’s not a good idea to confuse your audience from the get-go when you are trying to do something completely different.
It’s a shame because Jane Eyre marks an ambitious creative leap for the Shanghai Ballet, who have chosen to make their London debut with this production instead of taking the easy way out and giving us yet another Swan Lake. Though it is the case that whatever the ballet’s failings, the cast perform it with an impressive dramatic conviction and an accomplished, versatile technique. (...)
Not so good is the use of recorded music, a strange soup of Elgar, Britten, Samuel Barber, John Dowland and others, especially when some of it is incongruously linked to the choreography. (Debra Craine in The Times)
A frustratingly meek Xiang Jieyan and a dashing Wu Husheng make an attractive Jane and Rochester, but they’re more efficient than transporting, with no chemistry together.
De Bana’s sometimes clumsy choreography, over-emphatic physical storytelling and poor pacing, and a score tritely skipping from chamber music to Greensleeves to Barber’s Adagio for Strings, don’t help. (...)
The power of her mournful second act duet with Wu is rather undermined by him dragging her off like a sack of spuds, though. And ultimately her character arc goes nowhere, either. (Siobhan Murphy on Metro)
On the whole an enjoyable evening of ballet, with the fire scene being the stand out moment, and the ending being the low point. (Lynne Howell on Brontë Parsonage Blog)
DanceTabs publishes a Flickr album of pictures of the production.

Wall Street Journal interviews the actor and singer Bret McKenzie about his role in Austenland. He sounds more like a Brontëite than a Janeite, though:
What was your familiarity with Jane Austen before this movie?
I had read Jane Austen in school, so I knew the book, and I knew the world. But I'm more of a "Wuthering Heights" guy. I'm more of a Brontë man. I like how wild, how dramatic "Wuthering Heights" is. Jane Austen keeps it very reserved, very repressed. (...)
Stephenie Meyers, the "Twilight" author, produced the film. Did you read her books?
I haven't read them, but I saw one of the "Twilight" movies.
Did you like it?
Ummmm…Yeah. I liked it. I'm not really a "Twilight" guy. Again more of a Brontë man than a Meyers man, but she was a great producer. (Mike Vilensky)
Stephenie Meyer herself has no trouble with Austen or Brontë. In The Examiner:
Q: What would be the number one book to read while you were there?
Meyer: Would it be too meta to be reading Austen books while you're at Austenland? Cause it probably would...Maybe I would read the Brontë's that would work, too. (Shaina Moskowitz)
The Telegraph reviews the A Bic for Her Bridge Christie show at the Edinburgh Fringe:
En route to a conclusion that emotively embraces Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old girl shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating girls’ education, there’s a fine little repeated motif about Thatcher’s “turning”, an unrepeatable gem about her proposed revenge for tennis commentator John Inverdale’s infamous “never going to be a looker” remark, and a great demolition of the patronising Bic For Her pastel-coloured biro that gives the show its title. How on earth, she suggests, did the Brontë sisters ever manage without one? (Mark Monahan)
The Guardian reviews No Place To Call Home by Katharine Quarmby:
After a brief period of the romantic, fortune-telling Gypsy figure beloved by Charlotte Brontë and other Victorians, the hostility grew to its height in the Holocaust, when up to half a million Roma were murdered by Nazis and their allies, in the camps and elsewhere. (Rose George)
The Telegraph has an article about the quite extraordinary Minack Theatre in Cornwall:
This newspaper recently carried a photograph of spectators in Minack huddled against the driving rain during a performance – appropriately enough – of Wuthering Heights. But for a show to actually be cancelled, the elements have to be truly appalling. And whatever the weather, umbrellas are forbidden. (Philip Johnston)
Sophia McDougall in the New Statesman is a bit tired of 'strong female' characters:
I love Jane Eyre declaring “I care for myself” despite the world’s protracted assault on her self-esteem. My despair that the film industry believes the world is more ready for a film featuring a superhero who is a raccoon than it is for a film led by a superhero who is awoman is long and loud. 
Keighley News insists on the efforts to preserve and restore Haworth's heritage.
A new tourist map of Haworth has been released to highlight every aspect of the historic village – not just the buildings and sights associated with its most famous former residents, the Brontë sisters.
FemaleFirst interviews the writer Sarah Stovell:
What other Victorian gothic novels have you enjoyed and drawn inspiration from?
(...)I also love ‘genuine’ Victorian novels - Wuthering Heights is my very favourite. I studied it for my A Level English Literature sixteen years ago and still remember it vividly.
Multiculturalism in Leicester according to The Independent:
And the Asian immigrants from East Africa – affluent professionals and businesspeople – were better equipped to prosper than any before or since. "While others came to Britain from villages in Bengal or Kashmir," says Suleman Nagdi, who arrived from what was then called Rhodesia, "we had been immersed in Britishness – Jane Eyre and all that – from our school days, and that immersion helped us integrate more quickly: we were familiar with the education and legal systems and everything else." (Peter Popham)
A list of young talents in the Sydney Morning Herald, such as Kate Bush:
was on top of the British charts at the age of 19 with her debut release, Wuthering Heights, which, depending on your viewpoint, is a classic pop song of romantic genius, or one of the most irritating earworms ever released. 
And San Diego Magazine talks with the literary agent Sandra Dijkstra:
My mom always thought I “read too much.” Ironic, coming from a reading teacher, but her chief concern was that I be attractive and find a good mate. Still, all that early reading, from Nancy Drew to Jane Eyre, clearly made a difference, as my love for books grew from a guilty pleasure to a thriving livelihood.
Uncouth Reflections and Draegonflies review Jane Eyre positively; the Brontë Parsonage Blog posts about the recent East Riddlesden Hall Brontë Society meeting (with particular attention to seventeenth century samplers and needlework in those days).

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