Theatre Review – ‘Jane Eyre’

Hello everyone! 🙂

It’s amazing what 170 years will do for a classic novel. That’s right! It will have been 170 years since the publication of ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Brontë. Last Thursday, my parents and I went to see the theatre production of ‘Jane Eyre’ at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. It was very extraordinary!

I’d seen various dramatizations of ‘Jane Eyre’ both on TV and film. So I knew what the story was about before I saw the theatre production. This theatre production of ‘Jane Eyre’ is innovative with re-imagining directed by Sally Cookson and is a collaboration between the National Theatre and the Bristol Old Vic.

As with many theatre productions, ‘Jane Eyre’ has its own unique style. Firstly, the story was all told on one set with a variety of stage pieces for the actors to work on. Secondly, there was  a musical atmosphere to the production with a musical band performing in the background.

For those of you who don’t know the story, ‘the fictional character of Jane Eyre’ is deemed to be Charlotte Brontë’s underlying autobiography about an orphaned young girl who grows up to go to Lowood girls’ boarding school at the age of 10 and eventually to become a governess at Thornfield Hall. There, she meets and eventually falls in love with the master of the house Mr. Rochester. This is a tale about passion and bitter betrayal.

The production stars Nadia Clifford as Jane Eyre and Tim Delap as Mr. Rochester. I recognised Tim Delap’s name when I checked the cast list in the programme souvenir. Tim Delap guest starred in two Big Finish audios of ‘Doctor Who’ including ‘The Waters of Amsterdam’ and ‘Daleks Among Us’.

Nadia Clifford is good as Jane Eyre with enormous energy and ability. She herself acclaims a great passion for Brontë’s novel and this comes across in her superb performance. She plays Jane Eyre both as a 10-year old and also as an adult. Usually in some adaptations, they would have a girl actress playing 10-year-old Jane Austen before becoming an adult. It was surreal to see Jane played by one actress but Nadia Clifford was amazing in doing it.

The stage production was creative and unusual in terms of how they depicted scenes from the book to the stage. For one thing, they had the actors running on the spot to signify the journeys from place to place via horse and carriage. Some of it was amusing and I wondered whether they were doing P.E. exercises!

There was a shocking moment when Mr. Rochester used the ‘F’ word in his first scene appearance during the story. I admit I haven’t myself read the book, but I’m sure this wouldn’t have originally been included as it wouldn’t be true to the spirit of Charlotte Brontë’s novel of ‘Jane Eyre’.

There was one thing about ‘Jane Eyre’ on stage that I enjoyed very much. Mr. Rochester’s dog Pilot gets to be played by Paul Mundell. It was fun to see him playing a dog. He didn’t have a dog costume to play Pilot. Just a ‘belt’ used as a wagging tail! It was surreal as Paul Mundell had played Brocklehurst before Pilot.

‘Jane Eyre’ as a theatre production was really enjoyable to watch although I must admit that I enjoyed the theatre production of ‘Pride & Prejudice’ also shown at the Wales Millennium Centre earlier this year. This probably is due to myself being more familiar with the story of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ as opposed to ‘Jane Eyre’. ‘Jane Eyre’ was also a 3 hour long theatre production – there was so much story to cover!

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

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