Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 10:15 am by Cristina in , , , ,    No comments
We have a couple of reviews of Sally Cookson's Jane Eyre at Richmond Theatre, Broadway World gives it 4 stars out of 5:
Producing a show that renews interest and registers a fresh or interesting perspective is very hard, especially if you want to stay faithful to the merits of the text. Olivier award-nominated director Sally Cookson manages to maintain all the dark suspense and emotion contained within the pages of the novel. Jane's refusal to be constrained by the edicts of society and find her own way in the world remains the central theme. There are some very intelligent ideas, such as some of the cast speaking to Jane as her own consciousness, so her important thought processes are evident to the audience.
Among a very talented cast, Nadia Clifford is mesmerising in the title role. Her progress from frustrated and petulant child into independent young woman is well defined. She captures the intensity of the character brilliantly.
Tim Delap's Rochester is suitably brooding and curt and Paul Mundell gives a surprisingly convincing performance as Rochester's dog Pilot, injecting some unexpected, but not unwelcome, comedy into the show. Cast members often play several roles, demonstrating great adaptability and speed in transformation. [...]
This is a multi-layered production; the use of fire is a crucial part of the story, but is also suggested as a metaphor for the character of Jane. This is a subtle but thoughtful reference to Brontë's narrative, which often associates Jane's character with fire.
Michael Vale's set of wooden platforms, ramps and steel ladders is simple but enables the cast to constantly move and shift perspective. Aideen Malone's lighting design is perfectly judged, with clever use of hand held lights and coloured backgrounds.
Benji Bower's often folksy musical composition is a wonderful accompaniment and compliments the action perfectly. As Bertha Rochester, Melanie Marshall is given the role of a solo Greek chorus. She has a very impressive vocal range and a distinct clarity which is truly beautiful. The use of haunting adaptations of 'Mad About The Boy' and Knarls Barkley's 'Crazy' are distinctly modern, but brilliant additions and give Bertha a voice that she lacks in the original text. There is a very clever ambiguity about who the words are describing; is it Jane or herself?
Despite the many risks in tackling such a ground-breaking novel, this production is a an intelligent and totally captivating adaptation. (Aliya Al-Hassan)
The Reviews Hub gives it 4 1/2 stars out of 5 and sums it up as 'clever and accessible'.
The set is eminently transportable, comprising different levels of open scaffolding, reached variously by means of stairs, a ramp and several ladders. Props are few and the whole is encircled by full height drapes which, by means of lighting can become either the oppressive “red room” in which the child Jane is incarcerated, the stark walls of the school or the blue and black of a violent thunderstorm. Tiny lanterns hang from the ceiling but are moved about, carried by the actors, sometimes as candles, lamps or are bunched together as a fire. A band of musicians play under one of the levels, providing sound effects and some emerging from time to time to play bit parts. Often these make demands on the imagination of the audience but it cannot be easy to portray a poor orphan girl when you are six feet tall with a fine, bushy beard.
Costuming is simple and varies little from that of Jane’s wealthy Reed relatives to that of the orphan’s garb. A suggestion of a full skirt and a tight bodice worn with clumpy boots are not conducive to the swift ascent of vertical ladders so often demanded by the action.
Music is an integral part of the evening, Melanie Marshall singing what is almost a narration in her warm mezzo, sometimes indiscreet songs, often unobtrusively vocalising the atmosphere. Even though this is necessarily a lengthy evening, a concentrated three hours with only one short interval, Nadia Clifford is excellent as Jane, keeping the audience by her side through all her sufferings and sadness and finally relieved, although everyone knows it comes out right in its dramatic end.
Most of the characters speak with Yorkshire accents, which is authentic but occasionally difficult for some southern ears. The exception is the Reverend Doctor Brocklebank [sic] in his immense stove-pipe hat and Paisley-esque delivery. This is where gender-blind casting is overtaken by species-blindness, for the cleric is played by Paul Mundell, who, between his startling early appearance and later in a small but key part as Mr Mason, plays Pilot, the dog, with such sympathy as to make us all want to go straight to Battersea to find one for ourselves.
A clever and accessible reimagining of a classic. (Ann Bawtree)
Still on stage, Herald Sun (Australlia) reviews The Moors.
Stephen Nicolazzo’s atmospheric production draws on the style of melodrama and creepy horror movies, and its empty, black stage draped with dreary olive and black curtains, combined with the predominantly black costumes (set and costume, Eugyeene Teh) and spooky, floating mist, emphasises the gloomy lives of the sisters.
Silverman’s script satirises the sinister elements of the gothic horror genre, and teases the audience with the sexual tension and lust, power and subservience, despair and hope expressed by the various characters. [...]
This parody runs out of steam after about an hour in this two-hour show, but Silverman’s play and Nicolazzo’s production are quirky and entertaining, and it is probably even more diverting for fans of the Bröntes [sic]. (Kate Herbert)
In an article on Daphne Du Maurier, BBC Culture seems to have come across the first time on record when someone connected Rebecca to Jane Eyre:
An article in the Spectator in the same year of the TLS reappraisal, 1962, made what I think is the first connection between Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece and du Maurier’s own, describing Rebecca as “a Cornish Gothic resetting of Jane Eyre.” It’s a comparison that, in more recent years, has seen Rebecca finally claimed by the literary establishment, thus metamorphosing a novel once blurbed as the “world-famous bestseller of love and suspense” into a key 20th-Century feminist gothic text: Brontë’s madwoman in the attic transformed into Rebecca’s ghostly presence, each woman a dirty little secret their husbands have to take care of, one way or another. (Lucy Scholes)
A.V. Club reviews the film Maudie, which is
strongest early on, as it presents the start of the relationship between Maud and Everett as the world’s sorriest production of Jane Eyre. (Ignatiy Vishnevetsky)
There are further thoughts on Jane Eyre as a role model on Staffrm.

Finally, you can listen to Ann Dinsdale speaking about the Brontës in general and their 'diaries' in particular on BBC Radio Leeds (around the 1:45 mark).


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