Thursday, May 04, 2017

Broadway World reviews Sasha Janes's choreography of Wuthering Heights.
In the epigraph to his new ballet, choreographer Sasha Janes spread out one of Emily Brontë's most lurid quotes over a full page in the program booklet for Charlotte Ballet's production of Wuthering Heights. Contemplating her love for the elegant Edgar Linton and the mysterious Heathcliff, Catherine Linton likens her love for Edgar to the leaves of a forest, decorous and mutable, while her love for Heathcliff resembles the rocks below - short on delight, but necessary and eternal. [...]
It helps, of course, that the technical team behind him get the atmospherics right, most notably the lighting and projection designs by Christopher Ash and the costumes by Jennifer Janes. The Janeses are obviously on the same page conceptually, for the costumes designed for Catherine and Heathcliff are folksy and flowing, while the Lintons and Earnshaws tend toward genteel formality, starchiness, and pastels. Choreography magnifies those contrasts, controlled and elegant at Catherine's wedding to Edgar, wild and athletic in her youthful frolics with Heathcliff.
As the plot thickens and the protagonists mature, the pas de deuxs between Catherine and Heathcliff become darker and more sensual - and the costumes more diaphanous and scanty. Even uncannier than his choreography, the rightness of Janes's musical choices assures that you can hardly tear your attention away from the dancers until the overwhelming final scene.
With his dark curly hair and his robust, muscular torso, Josh Hall (alternating with Ben Ingel) was the perfect blend of savagery and beauty as Heathcliff on opening night. After the intermission interval, Hall carried off Heathcliff's astounding transformation from unrefined rusticity to steely, seething gentility marvelously well, and his partnering in the unique final pas de deux was both powerful and heartbreaking.
Working opposite the power and virility of Hall, Chelsea Dumas very likely convinced a hefty chunk of the opening night crowd that Catherine was the role in Wuthering Heights. Hers were the moves that gave the pas de deuxs with Heathcliff their wildness. Hers were the anguish and madness when the transformEd Heathcliff married her sister-in-law Isabella, avenging himself for her betrayal of their love. Through it all, she stands up for Heathcliff against her abusive brother Hindley and her jealous husband Edgar.
Both Janes and Dumas seemed to grasp that Brontë thought of Catherine as a woman whose fierce spirit and vitality were too much for her frail frame - particularly when pregnancy and parturition were added to her stresses. In the novel, Catherine's death is a halfway mark, where our attentions begin to shift to a new generation after a raging, grieving Heathcliff curses his beloved and calls upon her spirit to haunt him the rest of his days. (Perry Tannenbaum) (Read more)
Kirkby Moorside Blog reviews the stage production of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
This is a play which works on several levels.  At its simplest, it’s a love story, or a Victorian melodrama.  It’s also a cautionary tale about the tragic outcome of alcohol-fuelled dissipation. But it is at its best in highlighting the plight of women in the mid nineteenth century, with no resort against husbands who spent their fortunes, abused and abandoned them, took away their children and denied them any freedom.  Mothers, take your daughters to see this play if you want them to realise there is more to life than the latest designer jeans.
And the dog is brilliant.
The Reviews Hub has a review of Sally Cookson's Jane Eyre as seen at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth.
Nadia Clifford guides us through the protagonist’s neglected childhood and towards her boarding school years of tender loss and friendship, exhibiting just the right amount of stubbornness and rebellion to ensure she glows with all the qualities of a true heroine. Her emotional speeches are acted with more feeling than a physical outburst of violence. Her arrival at Thornfield to meet the peculiar and charismatic Mr .Edward Rochester allows her to demonstrate her skill in acting the part of Jane through an angry childhood to the more restrained and mature stages of adulthood.
It’s a complex story and a lengthy one, and that is perhaps why issues of pacing occurs at times. The first half is rather drawn out and less focus on Jane’s childhood, however bleakly sympathetic it might be, could hasten her arrival to Thornfield and to the soul of the story. It feels like sweet relief when Rochester, played with eccentricity and flair by Tim Delap, finally rides in on a horse. Jane doesn’t need a knight in shining armour, but the audience certainly needs a change of pace at this point. Delap certainly delivers this, with deadpan lines and an unusual mix of comedy and irritation.
The second half fares better, although is perhaps lacking a few finer story threads that ardent fans of the novel will be dutifully waiting for – Jane’s surprise inheritance and St John’s lost love, to name a few. This leaves for a rushed and slightly sparse final few scenes that might leave newcomers to the famous tale a little lost in the abstraction. Having said that, the ending is cleverly linked to the beginning, creating a sense of life coming full circle and the future being one of hope.
The story is offset by beautiful lighting by Aideen Malone that flickers in scattered lanterns one moment and sets the stage ablaze with fire the next. It manages to change the tone from ease to horror in seconds, particularly in the case of Jane’s childhood horror, the Red Room. It is used to convey the mystery of the rolling moors and the moments of happiness in Jane’s life with simple alterations between light and dark. The set design by Michael Vale is contemporary and fresh, an unusually welcome approach to an old story. The lack of change in it does sometimes leave the eye wondering, but it arguably represents Jane herself: plain and without fuss, someone who notes more than once that ‘beauty is of little consequence’. This minimalist approach also allows a small cast to display their talents of switching between roles and even objects and animals with skill, a feat not easily accomplished.
The music is another breath of fresh air, atmospheric and pared down. Melanie Marshall’s voice leaves a haunting echo long after she stops singing. It’s only a shame that contemporary songs sometimes interrupt the seamless and folky feel of the original music that dominates most of the play. This is when both are at their best, and capturing the mood of Brontë’s original novel.
This adaptation certainly has much to recommend and is bursting with passion from a talented cast of fiery individuals. The unique and simplistic staging hits a few bumps in the road but is also what recommends the play most. Above all else, it breathes life into the beautiful conversations between Jane and Rochester that fill Brontë’s pages with intelligent romance. It creates a play that begs the audience to listen as much as they might usually just watch. (Hannah Stamp)
The Reviews Hub also interviews Different Theatre about their show, Underworlds.
How would you describe your show in one sentence? A dark tapestry of female voices from the afterlife, in which characters such as Arachne, Eurydice, Cathy Earnshaw (Wuthering Heights), Cleopatra and a black widow get a chance to set the record straight.
Female First has writer Tracy Rees share her ten favourite romantic novels. One of them is
Jane Eyre
This stunning book by Charlotte Brontë seems to crop up in every list of favourites I ever make. And there’s no denying that the love story between Jane and Rochester is one of its key marvels - haunting, passionate, apparently doomed and desperately touching. When she hears his voice calling her name across the moors from hundreds of miles away… oh God! Somebody please pass the tissues!
USA Today's Happy Ever After interviews writer Juliet Lyons.
Joyce: Who are three romance authors who turn you into a fangirl?
Juliet: [...] Modern authors aside, I’m a complete Brontë fangirl. Last summer I visited the Brontë Parsonage in Haworth where the sisters lived and it was absolutely amazing. I even jumped a rope so I could touch the table where Emily wrote Wuthering Heights. Yes, I’m a rope jumper. Beware. (Joyce Lamb)
That may be supposed to be an indicator of how passionate about the Brontës she is, but it actually is silly and disrespectful.

Epic Reads shares an excerpt from YA novel It’s Not Like It’s A Secret by Misa Sugiura, which is about two friends who 'bond over their love for poetry'.
“Emily Dickinson?” she says when I return laden with Diet Cokes, a bag of kettle corn, and a bowl of rice crackers.
Oh, no. “Yeah. I know, I’m a nerd.”
“No, that’s cool. We had to read a poem by her in eighth grade: ‘I’m Nobody! Who are you?’ I liked it.”
“That’s the poem that made me want to get that book!”
“But I don’t get her sometimes—she’s a little weird for me, you know? This shy white lady shut up in her house all day writing poems. All those white writer ladies ever did was sit around and write and sew—Charlotte Brontë, Emily Dickinson, the Little Women chick . . .”
“No, they did other things. Like knit lace and drink tea.” I giggle, and she laughs with me, which feels kind of magical for some reason.
Bustle lists '10 Books That Weren't Appreciated When They First Came Out', including
3 'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Brontë
Wuthering Heights was met with very mixed reviews when it was first published. On the one hand, it was called a "strange, inartistic story." Other reviews had more extreme reactions, such as "How a human being could have attempted such a book as the present without committing suicide before he had finished a dozen chapters, is a mystery" and "Read Jane Eyre is our advice, but burn Wuthering Heights…." (Charlotte Ahlin)
Express reports that the award for best hotel in the UK has gone to a Haworth B&B: Wilsons of Haworth.
The independent hotel is located in Haworth, the historic Yorkshire village made famous by the Brontë sisters.
Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte called the village home in the 19th century, an accolade which still manages to lure tourists every year.
Wilsons of Haworth is situated within sight of The Brontë Parsonage and the cobbled Haworth Main Street.
The Pennine village is where the Bronte sisters wrote their famous poems and novels, and the moorland setting is believed to have had a profound influence on their work.
Haworth's modest five-bedroom bed and breakfast has soared past big city competition to claim the top honour.
Awarded Best Hotel in the United Kingdom by HotelsCombined, the charming property beat over 46,000 other guesthouses, apartments and hotels across the nation.
Paulina Krolikowska, the Recognition Manager for HotelsCombined UK said: “The Recognition of Excellence awards celebrate the very best accommodation for delivering exemplary customer service.
“We are proud to name Wilsons of Haworth as the top place to stay in the UK as they most consistently scored 10 out of 10 points, compared to the shortlist average of 9.4.
“While Haworth is world-famous for its literary links and preserved steam railway, it’s surprising to see it take out larger towns and cities that offer better known properties.” (Claudia Cuskelly)
Student Edge discusses why so-called 'Crusty Old Literature Is Still Relevant Today', focusing particularly on Jane Eyre. Télérama (France) reviews the film A Quiet Passion and thinks that it makes Emily Dickinson seem like a character created by Charlotte Brontë. Stuff (New Zealand) features a dyslexic man who was 'caned for not reading Jane Eyre properly'.

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