Review - Villette at the West Yorkshire Playhouse - *Review by Richard Wilcocks* Charlotte Brontë’s *Villette*, which was recognised by knowledgeable readers in nineteenth century Brussels as a close parallel...
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Northern Ballet, Europe's best dance company of 2014 and renowned for their special artistic magic, have done it again. In a sell-out world premiere, the audience were treated to 90 minutes of entrancing dance, 90 minutes of compelling drama and, into the bargain, 90 minutes of exciting music. A great present for Charlotte Brontë's 200th birthday!Bustle has selected '12 Book Characters We Love to Hate' such as
The characters spring convincingly to life on stage, thanks to expressive acting and dance skills and a superbly integrated score, which all combine to sweep the flow of narrative along with unflagging momentum.
Lighting and set, all moody, broody browns and gritty greys, evoke a lonely vastness of moorland, while backdrops in the same subdued hues, are repositioned to represent dark interiors with the addition of just the odd chair.
Costumes echo the mood with greys, browns and blacks, lifted to brightness by little Adele's rose pink dress and the fiery red of mad Bertha's. Flames and white mists just wait their chance, of course, to fill the stage.
The young orphaned Jane is danced sensitively by Antoinette Brooks-Daw. Badly treated by her cold-hearted aunt, she's packed off to the cruel, dark confines of Lowood, where Cathy Marston's synchronised, regimented choreography of school life (with echoes of 1984?) contrast with the tender dance of Jane and the dying Helen Burns.
As the older Jane, Dreda Blow has a lot more dancing to do, much of it with Javier Torres as a mighty fine, brooding, world-weary Rochester. They dance their various pas de deux beautifully together. As their romantic reluctance eventually changes from choreographed conflict, struggle and torment and blossoms into tender love, their expressive interaction is thoroughly absorbing and engaging.
A little light-footed humour is injected into the intense, dark narrative by the accomplished Pippa Moore as a scuttling, slightly comic Mrs Fairfax, while lively childhood exuberance comes from Rachael Gillespie as playful Adele. (Julia Armstrong) (Read more)
9. Heathcliff and Cathy from Wuthering HeightsBustle also includes a couple of Brontë-related modern retellings on their top 13:
Yeah, both of them. Their romance is passionate, sure, but they're really terrible people. They "love" each other, but instead of being kind and affectionate towards each other they're actively mean and try to ruin each other's lives? What? You've got to hate them, but you've also got to admit that you're completely swept up in their intense, hateful romance. (Charlotte Ahlin)
7. Catherine by April Lindner, a retelling of Wuthering Heights by Emily BrontëMIT News finds a Brontëite in biology researcher Maiko Kitaoka:
Catherine is the daughter of a club owner, and Hence is a passionate musician. Chelsea is a girl trying to find out why her mother disappeared years ago. Their stories are entwined in this modern-day mystery based on Wuthering Heights.
8. The Flight Of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey, a retelling of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
If you like modern adaptations of classics, but you're still hoping for a bit of a time period setting, this is the perfect retelling for you. Set in the 1950s and 1960s in Iceland and Scotland, The Flight of Gemma Hardy follows protagonist Gemma as she becomes an au pair on Orkney Islands and becomes fascinated with the mysterious Mr. Sinclair. (Julia Seales)
Kitaoka is also a keen reader — lately, she’s found that her 15-minute walks to the lab are a great time to turn a few pages. She loves classics such as “Pride and Prejudice,” “Jane Eyre,” and the Sherlock Holmes novels: “They tell a story, but they also tell you something about human nature, and how people perceive things, or why things happen,” she says. (Jessica Fujimori)Eric Ruijssenaars has found that Villette has been translated into 27 languages and comments on some of them on the Brussels Brontë Blog. Glosswatch posts about rereading Wide Sargasso Sea. La mano que escribe con pluma (in Spanish) talks about the recent conference in Madrid by Rodrigo Fresán about Wuthering Heights.