REVIEW: Jane Eyre
Just home from Belfast’s Grand Opera House and the opening night of the National Theatre and Bristol Old Vic’s astonishingly good joint production of Jane Eyre … and it is far from being what one would expect!
It may be based on Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel, but this work – devised by the original company – is modern in its approach, in its styling and in its staging and manages to retain Jane Eyre’s core characterisation of being a free spirit and a strong-willed individual who strives for equality and for the right to be herself.
I will admit that I am not a Bronte fan (apologies to ‘Bronte heads’ like Maureen Coleman and Karen Hawthorne, who were there tonight!), yet I was blown away by this riveting production and gladly sat through over 3 hours of it without any loss of interest.
Everything about this visually-stunning production is praise worthy, from its innovative direction and staging to its exceptional and intense ensemble playing, and from its faultless lighting and sound plots to its magnificent movement, which ranged from delicate and balletic to furious and frenzied throughout.
The trio of on-stage actor/musicians brought a lot to the table, with music that varied from appropriately ‘English’ style folk to gospel to what could best be described as atmospheric soundscapes, when required.
Musically, I loved Melanie Marshall’s apt interpretation and arrangement of the Gnarls Barkley (CeeLo Green) hit, Crazy – so unexpected, yet fitting.
Although performances were all faultless, I must congratulate Paul Mundell in particular for bringing the dog, Pilot, to life so well and with so much humour.
Years ago, the Belfast Festival at Queen’s used to bring some spectacular pieces of world theatre to Belfast and these were ‘special’ … This production is of such a high calibre that it seems a shame that it is just another touring production, for it, too, is very ‘special’ and provides a fantastic night of theatre – Don’t miss it!
National Theatre/Bristol Old Vic
Grand Opera House, Belfast
Mon 21-Sat 26 Aug, 2017