The National Theatre and Bristol Old Vic’s adaptation of Jane Eyre is absolutely flawless. From beginning to end I am in complete awe of the skill, perfection and creativity involved in bringing this piece of classical literature to life.
The open set brings a completely unique viewing experience. The vast use of space and levels, combined with the actors ability to move around the set, including working up and down ladders, make for a powerful, symbolic representation of Jane’s struggle. The use of window frames convey Jane’s desire for freedom. There is so much to look at throughout the production, it really is a feast for the eyes. The pyrotechnics bring a powerful edge to specific scenes, creating atmosphere and tension.
The actors take on a Brechtian stance with their constant interaction and sensitivity to one another. Hannah Bristow is the stand out performer for me. Her portrayal of no less than five roles is remarkable. A lady of pure talent, and an actor whose talents I will certainly be sharing with students I teach. The addition of Pilot (Rochester’s dog) played by Paul Mundell, is a welcome lighthearted touch to what is, on the whole, a sombre piece.
Having the band on stage is great to see, not hidden in the sidelines as is the norm. They blend in seamlessly, and even play children in the Lowood School scenes. Melanie Marshall, who plays Bertha Mason, has the voice of an angel and really brings to life the dark, gothic atmosphere. The music is powerful, dark, gothic and macabre in equal measure. The perfect accompaniment to such a compelling adaptation. The slowed down, acoustic version of Crazy by Gnarls Barkley, is an absolute surprise, and if truth be told, utterly breathtaking.
Jane Eyre leaves me speechless. I am, and still am, in complete awe of the creative vision required to take this piece of classical literature from page to stage. I’m off to rediscover the novel and immerse myself in the journey and struggle of Jane Eyre once again. 5/5
Review written by Stacie Pollard.
Jane Eyre is currently showing at the Marlowe Theatre until Saturday 24th June. For more information on the production, visit here…