Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 10:14 am by Cristina in , ,    No comments
We have a couple of reviews of the adaptation of Jane Eyre currently on stage at The Octagon Theatre in Bolton. The Guardian gives the production 3 out 5 stars:
In the title role of Elizabeth Newman’s pared-back production, Jessica Baglow captures the plain-speaking pragmatism of a woman with little on her side but righteous determination. In her prim turquoise frock and pinned-back hair, she wins us over not with flattery or frivolity but integrity and intelligence. It’s a moot point, though, whether Michael Peavoy, as her would-be lover Rochester, tips too far to the morose side of taciturn; one minute he seems attractively moody, the next plain surly. You end up willing him and Jane to get together even while doubting the wisdom of the match.
The adaptation by Janys Chambers and Lorna French skips through the novel with a light and lucid touch, gaining in wry humour and pace what it loses in emotional intensity. Unburdened by heavy scenery, the cast take on a brisk catalogue of supporting roles – some a better fit than others – helping to maintain a seamless flow from scene to scene to create a gripping and good-hearted production. (Mark Fisher)
And from The Bolton News:
The Octagon's latest offering, Jane Eyre, is a wonderfully crafted performance with humour, darkness and heartbreak.
The earliest years of Jane's life are brought to the stage in rapid succession, with lights and staging boosting the performance of the young actors, who willingly share their characters with the audience.
For tonight's performance, Jasmine De Goede sparkled as young Jane, she took the audience with her to the trauma and fear of the red room.
As Jane's early years of torment and learning flash by, she grows up into an earnest and passionate woman with Jessica Baglow arriving centre stage.
The story moves to Thornfield Hall and the cantankerous Mr Rochester is introduced played by the brooding Michael Peavoy.
Both Peavoy and Baglow complement each other as Jane and Mr Rochester do. The pair are vulnerable and fiery on stage together.
The varied and multi-talented cast are quick to bring a laugh to what could have been a dreary and long-winded love story.
Kiruna Stamell brought a laugh with each appearance as silent Grace Poole and Claire Hackett's Mrs Fairfax could always raise a chuckle as she 'doesn't gossip'.
The laughter does not detract from the nightmare in the attic that is Leah Walker's Bertha, who cackles maniacally in the rafters.
Constrained by time the plot zips past but the finale is no less moving for it.
The play is adapted from Charlotte Brontë's novel of the same name by writers Janys Chambers and Lorna French.
Elizabeth Newman, artistic director of the Octagon and director, said: "Jane Eyre has always been one of my all-time favourite stories. It is beautiful. It explores independence in a world where people are often denied autonomy, even an opinion. It examines determination against all odds.
"It provides hope even in the most desolate situations. We can all learn a lot from Jane and from Mr Rochester, lessons in faith and love, courage and resolve, friendship and freedom.
"We are delighted to have Janys and Lorna creating a magnificent new adaptation of such an iconic, vibrant and intelligent story. We are all very excited to see this production come to life and are eager to share it with audiences both new and returning." (Mary Naylor)
This columnist from Cherwell tells how she discovered the works of Jane Austen and the Brontës:
I have always held a self-confessed fear of ‘classic’ literature. After reading, and despising, Little Women in Year 7 English I decided the black binding of Penguin classics wasn’t for me. I instead spent the majority of my teenage years perusing the work of 20th century American men.
It was only coming to Oxford, and being confronted by friends and peers who insisted I was missing out, that I re-considered. They argued that rather than reading the stagnant, contrived, drearily sexist ‘marriage-plot’ books I imagined, I could be awoken by the likes of Austen and Charlotte Brontë. (Tabitha Steemson)
Books Spring Eternal posts about Wuthering Heights.

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