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...
8 hours ago
Some of the subtler references to characters created by the Brontës were rather lost on me, likely to be down to my unfamiliarity with the source material. For this reason, some scenes ended up being of more interest than others. But there was another problem: I was not quite able to keep up with who was playing what character throughout. Despite the cast list in the show’s programme implying the contrary, all of the actors play multiple roles, and not just some.Evening Standard features the Tate Modern's retrospective of Georgia O'Keeffe:
The accompanying music, while pleasant to listen to, did not sit well with the underlying tensions inherent in the play, and thus, despite its soothing and calming nature, became increasingly irritating, given the strong depiction of the struggle of country living in the nineteenth century. I would have expected the music – mostly played between scenes, but sometimes during them, and occasionally threatening to drown out characters still speaking – to have more of an emotional impact. For me, the tepid melodies were neither here nor there.
The near-constant flitting about between decades in the play even extends to at least one character being very much dead in one scene, only to be very much alive in the following one. As a whole, the play didn’t engage very much, and it became difficult to feel much empathy for any of the main characters as their futures and how they met their ultimate endings were revealed. I’m not blaming the cast, though: they did what they could with what they had, and they are to be commended for that.
An ambitious play, perhaps too ambitious, it was given a good shot by the Tower Theatre Company in a faithful rendering that could have done with some trimming. I could not, to be fair, fault the set or the way in which it is used. And to hear a few paragraphs from the Brontë canon of literature, sometimes just spoken out but sometimes performed with pathos and credibility, was a satisfying experience. (Chris Omaweng)
She was the first female artist to be recognised on the same level as menThe Globe and Mail discusses so-called 'women's fiction' and pink book covers.
Novelists can thank Jane Austen and the Brontës for carving out a space for women to write, but female artists’s foremothers were basically non-existent. O’Keeffe’s career and subsequent success made it possible for women to imagine a career as an artist, and in 1946 she became the first female artist to have an exhibition in New York’s Museum of Modern Art. (Jessie Thompson)
A highbrow literary critic may have a problem with the concept of “women’s fiction” – why should there be such a category at all? Are the best writers not fascinating to readers of all genders regardless of the subject matter? Are women exclusively interested in family and romance? Why is Alice Munro not labelled in this way? Elfriede Jelinek? But protest as we might, the category exists in business. Especially on Amazon, where the label is used to push even canonical works such as Jane Eyre. (Russell Smith)Town Topics praises the TV series Happy Valley.
As with other English crime series, the scenery surrounding these mean streets is a constant reminder of Shakespeare’s “this blessed plot, this earth, this realm,” not to mention the moors of nearby Haworth where Cathy and Heathcliffe [sic] and Jane and Rochester find one another in Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. (Stuart Mitchner)Travelpulse suggests a trip aboard the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway. Lyndsay Faye's Jane Steele in one of the summer reads recommended by DecaturDaily. Les Soeurs Brontë (in French) continues rereading Villette. DVD Magazine (in Portuguese) praises Agnes Grey. The Case for Global Film reviews Jane Eyre 1944.