Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Sally Cookson's Jane Eyre continues touring the UK and Devon Live reviews the Plymouth Theatre Royal performances.
A 10 strong team of actors and musicians under director Sally Cookson have brought this tale to vivid and vigorous life. It’s three hour (including interval) running time means that it’s a long haul but it’s fair to say that I barely noticed.
Classic scenes such as when the child Jane is locked in the nightmarish Red Room and savage lessons at Lowood School are brought thrillingly to life.
Concise story-telling means that some elements are lost or glossed over, but lovers of the novel and newcomers to the tale will be thrilled by this very theatrical version. You are unlikely to forget the way these story-tellers portray Jane’s carriage rides into the unknown or Mr Rochester’s dog Pilot.
Special praise to Nadia Clifford, a tiny thunderbolt of a performer, who is barely off stage and portrays Jane from birth to her final resolution with tangible sincerity.
That said, there’s not a weak link in the cast (who nearly all have multiple parts to play) and there will be cheers that the NT and BOV have brought this 2014 production back for a national and international tour.
Add to the mix Michael Vale’s spare, multilayered set and (Exeter boy!) Benji Bower’s haunting score, performed live on stage, and you have an evening of theatre that you’ll remember for all the right reasons.
Shepherd Express thinks that the Milwaukee Rep’s production of Jane Eyre (adapted by Polly Teale) is an 'unnecessary update'.
Brontë purists may be put off by the Milwaukee Rep’s attempt to update Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë’s taut and justifiably famous telling of the story of an orphaned waif who finds love as governess to the ward of the formidable Rochester of Thornton Hall. The charm of the original, of which this production is in short supply, lies in the meeting of two unlikely antagonists who share hidden misfortunes within an inflexible social order.
In this streamlined, often garrulous, bare-bones production (coproduced with the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park), dramatic moments are highlighted with incessant drumbeats, characters burst into song at odd moments, actors bark across stage portraying animals and attempts are made at simple choreography which seems to come out of nowhere. The most interesting rationale—and the most creative innovation of this production—is the treatment of Rochester’s insane wife, presented here as a symbolic alter ego to Jane, constantly onstage in a red room prison above the action in a gesture of ersatz Freudianism. She never speaks, only screams now and then, but as portrayed by solemn-faced Rin Allen, her carefully choreographed, formidable motions are the most interesting part of the show.
African American actress Margaret Ivey as Jane often rises above the production and brings a surprising delicacy and charm to her role. Michael Sharon cuts an impressive figure onstage as Rochester, but his diction verges on the inaudible, and he seems ill at ease in key scenes. As Adele, Rochester’s ward, Rebecca Hirota plays the child part like a manikin on steroids and seems to pounce onstage only to disrupt serious goings-on.
The well-appointed lesser roles are handled competently, but in the final analysis one must question writer Poley Tealle’s [sic] misguided application of the classic tale, which she professes to have loved since childhood and with which she tampered to reinvent Jane Eyre in up-to-date terms. It’s an unnecessary endeavor as the novel stands on its own. Despite some creative direction by KJ Sanchez, for this reviewer the production remains disappointing. (Steve Spice)
More Jane Eyre as The Bolton News reports that, after the recent success of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, there will be more Brontë on stage at the Octagon Theatre in 2018.
The new year begins with a new adaptation of Bronte classic Jane Eyre [...]
* Jane Eyre (January 18 to February 10) - Bronte's famous Thornfield Hall comes to life as heroine Jane Eyre falls for her mysterious employer Mr Rochester (Rosalind Saul)
The Voyager (the student newspaper of the University of West Florida) reports on the exhibition of the Victorian Literature class final projects.
Raven Harvey, senior English major, used a PowerPoint to speak about “The Case of Bertha Rochester” and “The Natural State of Madness.” The presentation represented how Jane Eyre viewed the character of Bertha Rochester and how society had viewed her as very different as a result of her background as well as being crazy.
Harvey said, “I picked this because I thought it would be seen in that era. I had to delve into the research on that case. It is a strange topic to try and talk about if you don’t know what it means. It is definitely worth reading into.” (William Watson)
Allocine (France) lists '5 portraits of literary geniuses on screen' including
Les Soeurs Brontë (1979)
Mis en scène par André Téchiné, superbement photographié par Bruno Nuytten (le futur réalisateur de Camille Claudel) qui sera nommé aux César pour travail, le film est porté par l'impeccable trio d'actrices que sont Isabelle Adjani, Marie-France Pisier et Isabelle Huppert. Il est évidemment une évocation de la vie des célèbres soeurs écrivains britanniques, poétesses et romancières : Charlotte, Emily et Anne, qui signèrent les oeuvres Jane Eyre, Les Hauts de Hurlevent et La Recluse de Wildfell Hall. Des oeuvres admises plus tard au panthéon de la littérature. La destinée tragique des soeurs (Charlotte sera la seule à connaître le succès de son vivant), tout autant que leur précocité, ont beaucoup contribué à leur renommée. Depuis leur disparition et même du vivant de leur père qui leur a survécu, la famille fait l'objet d'un culte s'étendant bien au-delà de l'Angleterre. (Olivier Pallaruelo) (Translation)
Today's review of Lady Macbeth is from Into Film:
With its atmospheric visuals, the film has much in common with Andrea Arnold's blustery and intense Wuthering Heights, while Sally Potter's Orlando is also notable for the complexity of its female lead and striking imagery. Joe Wright, meanwhile, adapted another Russian novel, Anna Karenina, in highly theatrical style in 2012, and Whit Stillman made audiences rethink Jane Austen with his biting Love & Friendship in 2016. (Joe Ursell)
Hindustan Times features Ditza Froim, spouse of Israeli ambassador to India, Daniel Carmon.
A few minutes later, however, on suddenly spotting Wuthering Heights, she tells us that the Emily Brontë novel is also a necessary element of her world. (Mayank Austen Soofi)
Spalding Today reviews the show Disco Inferno by Act II Theatre Company.
Another ambitious cover was Seren Cave singing Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights – but once again she did really well. (Jeremy Ransome)
Bookbub looks forward to the release of the novel Mr Rochester by Sarah Shoemaker.
“Reader, she married me.”
For 170 years, Edward Fairfax Rochester has stood as one of literature’s most romantic, most complex, and most mysterious heroes. Sometimes haughty, sometimes tender — professing his love for Jane Eyre in one breath and denying it in the next — Mr. Rochester has for generations mesmerized, beguiled, and, yes, baffled fans of Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece. But his own story has never been told.
Now, out of Sarah Shoemaker’s rich and vibrant imagination, springs Edward: a vulnerable, brilliant, complicated man whom we first meet as a motherless, lonely little boy roaming the corridors and stable yards of Thornfield Hall. On the morning of Edward’s eighth birthday, his father issues a decree: He is to be sent away to get an education, exiled from Thornfield and all he ever loved. As the determined young Edward begins his journey across England, making friends and enemies along the way, a series of eccentric mentors teach him more than he might have wished about the ways of the men — and women — who will someday be his peers.
But much as he longs to be accepted — and to return to the home where he was born — his father has made clear that Thornfield is reserved for his older brother, Rowland, and that Edward’s inheritance lies instead on the warm, languid shores of faraway Jamaica. That island, however, holds secrets of its own, and not long after his arrival, Edward finds himself entangled in morally dubious business dealings and a passionate, whirlwind love affair with the town’s ravishing heiress, Antoinetta Bertha Mason.
Eventually, after a devastating betrayal, Edward must return to England with his increasingly unstable wife to take over as master of Thornfield. And it is there, on a twilight ride, that he meets the stubborn, plain, young governess who will teach him how to love again.
It is impossible not to watch enthralled as this tender-hearted child grows into the tormented hero Brontë immortalized — and as Jane surprises them both by stealing his heart. Mr. Rochester is a great, sweeping, classic coming-of-age story, and a stirring tale of adventure, romance, and deceit. Faithful in every particular to Brontë’s original yet full of unexpected twists and riveting behind-the-scenes drama, this novel will completely, deliciously, and forever change how we read and remember Jane Eyre.
Release date: May 9 (Chanel Cleeton)
Beth Fish Reads also posts about it. Writergurlny hasn't really enjoyed Lyndsay Faye's Jane Steele. All of Literature's A Stage posts about Villette. Yesterday was World Asthma Day and Nick Holland marked the day by posting about Anne's asthma on AnneBrontë.org.

Finally, American Microreviews and Interviews features poet Rita Maria Martinez, with special attention to her collection The Jane and Bertha in Me.


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