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Best known possibly for his adaptation of Billy Liar, Willis Hall the writer of this version of Jane Eyre might have followed the novel faithfully, but I found it a little long and wordy, and slightly confusing to start with, with so many different people narrating, however, once I’d got my head round that, the story unfolded quite well.
A very difficult piece to stage with so many scenes, but the gothic-
Lighting was very effective, for example the tree projections when Mr Rochester arrived, and the lighting for the red room, all very evocative and creating the right feel for each particular scene. I liked the sound effects, however where Graham and Jane were walking on gravel, there walking was not in sync with the sound, which rather spoiled the whole effect.
I loved the musical interludes, led by Mariam, some nice harmonies, I particularly liked God Rest You Merry Gentlemen, the gentle humming of the tune underscoring the lib created a lovely gentle feel.
Costumes were good, fairly simple but in keeping with the times. I thought Jane would have had long sleeves, as it didn’t ring true for her to have short sleeves in winter, and it concerned me that Blanche was wearing a ball gown to ride a horse! But they were just small points.
There were some good performances, however I felt a certain level of emotion was
missing, I needed more contrasts from Edward Rochester and to some extent Jane Eyre,
that said I was impressed overall with Grace Rheinhold-
I felt Allan Martin as Rochester was rather one-
I loved the fact that Mrs. Fairfax (Angela Goss) had a skirt that rustled as she moved – seemed very authentic. A nice part for Angela that showed there was some kindness in that day and age, against the stern unkindness of Anthony Bird’s Brocklehurst and Rona Cracknell’s Mrs. Reed – both good portrayal’s.
Isabelle Lepore and Lydia Gibbs covered various of the younger roles extremely well,
with Annalise Carter-
Not my favourite play from the Rep, I felt it needed more light and shade, but one which had some good very effective moments, and a good first foray into direction for Christine Rayment.
review date:23rd January 2018
Little Theatre, Dunstable
Director: Christine Rayment