Friday, April 13, 2018

The Times discusses 'the mysterious case of the rewritten classics' and this simply had to be there:
Most pointless exotic location: Heathcliff by Cliff Richard
Emily Brontë’s Heathcliff is rugged and brooding, a lost soul filled with darkness. Cliff Richard is . . . none of those things. That didn’t stop him taking to the stage as Brontë’s hero in Heathcliff, his 1996 musical adaptation of Wuthering Heights. “Does a fluffy bunny have despair gnawing at its soul?” asked The Times critic Richard Morrison. Leaving aside the show’s bizarre casting, the singer also made the strange decision to send Heathcliff on a peculiar gap year to India, China and Africa. This did, however, allow for some exotic choreography that can hardly have been envisioned by Brontë in the original book. (James Marriott)
The Gay reviews Northern Ballet's Jane Eyre, giving it 3 stars out of 5.
Cathy Marston’s choreography nestles neatly between traditional and contemporary ballet, and is set to a score which moves between being playfully uplifting and darkly dramatic. The Northern Ballet Sinfonia was on point with their performance, having swelled their numbers from the previous tour of this production.  The set is deliberately sparse, primarily comprising of screens and curtains which are used to focus the attention on particular areas of the stage and its simplicity compliments to complexity of the narrative and provides for a workable dance space; whilst the costumes give a flavour of the bleakness of the Yorkshire Moors which are occasionally peppered with bold colour
Dreda Blow charms as the titular character, whilst Javier Torres gives a brooding and charismatic performance as Rochester; and Victoria Mason breathes life and insanity into the role of Rochester’s wife. In a company which danced with technical precision across the board, Mlindi Kulashe and Kevin Poeung both stood out from the ensemble and their consistency of performance and development from ballet to ballet continue to impress.
Given the rich story and the numerous events depicted in the book, there is a lot for Marston to fit into the ballet’s two hour run time, and whilst the key plot points are hit; the narrative is not always as clear as it could be. Those familiar with Bronte’s work will find much to enjoy within this production, whilst others may find the programme notes useful in keeping track.
That aside, Jane Eyre is a ballet which contains a flowing visual style, rich characterisations and a faithful adaptation of a timeless story which manages to maintain a feeling of freshness and originality in a frequently told tale. (Paul Szabo)
The Rumpus interviews Ted Scheinman, author of Camp Austen: My Life as an Accidental Jane Austen Superfan and asks him about the Austen vs Brontës (pointless) debates.
Rumpus: You allude to the schism between people who love Jane Austen and people who love the Brontës—dare I ask, what is that schism about?
Scheinman: I think it’s natural for fans to become clannish, and it certainly helps stir up solidarity among the in-group—nothing so useful as an external enemy. But I’m also not convinced that one ever has to choose. To oversimplify, it’s a little like the Beatles/Stones flame wars among American teens in the early 1960s. The Beatles were controlled and contained, arranging R&B styles within a sort of hallowed pop chamber. The Stones were dirty (they didn’t even wear ties!) and their music darker—the Dionysians to the mop-top Apollonians from Liverpool. That division of order vs. passion and classicism vs. Romanticism is a powerful organizing principle, and it obtains in the Austen/Brontë schsim. My impression is that a lot of the Janeites prefer the precision of Austen, and are able to find plenty of passion in those novels; it’s just passion of a different sort.
But this is a larger question that pertains to all sorts of fandom. Loving one thing often means disdaining its supposed antithesis, but once you get past that sort of blind dualism, you also start to enjoy things more. So I’m sympathetic to literary tribalism, but I also think fandom should be about enjoyment, not triumphalism. (Amy Shearn)
The Hollywood Reporter reviews the film adaptation of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
Cut to London, a year after the war, where Juliet and her publisher Sidney (Matthew Goode) are attending a reading of her book, a collection of lightly humorous stories by which she’s faintly embarrassed; a commercial sop after her first, a critical biography of Anne Brontë, flopped. [...]
Newell and his editor Paul Tothill (Atonement) flit back and forth between the wartime occupation and 1946, in which the book club, originally spirited into being to placate the Germans, is still going strong. In addition to Dawsey and Eben, the members include Eben's grandson, Eli (Kit Connor), who was sent to the mainland days before the Germans arrived; Isola (The IT Crowd's Katherine Parkinson), a flame-haired pre-hippie fond of reciting from Jane Eyre and making her own gin; and the older Amelia (a very fine Wilton), whose ambivalent attitude towards Juliet is shaded by her grief over the death of a pregnant daughter, as well as the disappearance of Brown Findlay's Elizabeth, the daughter's best friend. Elizabeth left behind a child, and the girl's parentage — and the circumstances of her mother's departure from Guernsey — is the secret that Juliet cannot pierce. [...]
The group's syllabus seems heavy on the Brontes, but the windswept romance at this story's heart is less than intemperate. (Harry Windsor)
According to Deadline,
Benedict Cumberbatch is the first performer to sign up for the New York debut of London’s Letters Live, a stage show that pairs celebrities with actual “literary correspondence” from the likes of Mohandas Gandhi, David Bowie, Tom Hanks, Abraham Lincoln, Patti Smith and Janis Joplin. [...]
In addition to the missives from Bowie, Gandhi, Joplin, Hanks and Smith, letters read include ones written by Maya Angelou, Elvis Presley, Kurt Vonnegut, Charlotte Brontë, Katherine Hepburn, Richard Burton, James Baldwin and Che Guevara. (Greg Evans)
The Sydney Morning Herald interviews writer and screenwriter Michelle Law.
The book you’ve read the most? The His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman, or Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. (Jaime Wells)
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books recommends audiobooks read by actors, including
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë: The amazing Thandie Newton narrates this one. Sarah says her narration is also very scrumptious. I’m obsessed with Newton in her role as Maeve in Westworld. (Amanda)
The Debrief discusses Toffee Dating, a soon-to-be-launched app that's been 'designed to help people who went to private school find love'.
I mean, using what school you attended to divide eligible and ineligible mates is LITERALLY promoting social division, but okay.
Essentially Jane Eyre for the digital age, the app gives us 19th Century vibes, you know when you weren’t allowed to marry outside of your class? It’s also a wonderful opportunity for the prejudice state school kids experience to spill out into the dating world. Impacting their career and earning potential just isn’t enough, they should also be stopped from meeting anyone outside their class. It's only right. (Georgia Aspinall)
International Socialism tells a wonderful anecdote about a suffragette in Haworth in 1913:
In 1913 [Selina] Cooper was campaigning in the Keighley by-election. She started speaking in Haworth, birthplace of the Brontë sisters, but was pelted with rotten tomatoes and eggs. “I’m stopping here whatever you throw,” she declared, “so go and fetch all the things you want to throw because I’m going to speak to you. And this blooming village would never have been known if it wasn’t for three women—the Brontës”. (Judy Cox)
Coffee n' Notes reviews the Manga Classics' adaptation of Jane Eyre.

And finally, don't miss this: Lucy the Reader, Brontë Society Young Ambassador, does a tour of the Brontë Parsonage.

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