Dramatic Jane Eyre needs a little more conversation, a little more action & More News


Jane Eyre ★★½
La Mama Courthouse till July 17, 2022

Adapting a novel to stage – even a nice, dramatic novel – isn’t a assure of nice drama.

Difficulties can rear their heads: for instance when the script, attempting to remain “true” to the textual content, unimaginatively transposes chunks of the unique prose on stage as dialogue and narration. Another hazard is attempting to cram too many episodes and narrative threads into the play.

Tess Parker commits to her role as Jane Eyre at La Mama.

Tess Parker commits to her function as Jane Eyre at La Mama.Credit:Darren Gill

Christine Davey’s adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s traditional novel Jane Eyre for Skin of our Teeth Productions sees Jane Eyre (Tess Parker) narrate the 130-minute manufacturing, delivering extracts of Bronte’s prose on to viewers, even addressing us as “dear reader”.

Bronte’s story begins with Jane’s early childhood as an orphan mistreated by her Aunt Reed who sends rebellious, defiant Jane to grim Lowood School the place she finally teaches. Plain, passionate Jane later turns into governess to Mr Rochester’s (Glen Barton) ward at Thornfield Hall the place she falls in love with gloomy Rochester who retains a darkish secret hidden within the attic.

Narration from a novel doesn’t must be lethal to a theatrical manufacturing: the triumphant current manufacturing of The Picture of Dorian Gray is proof of that. Two excellent UK theatrical variations of Jane Eyre – by Shared Experience (1999) and National Theatre Live (2020) – included a lot of Bronte’s textual content however then took imaginative leaps, translating Jane’s experiences into stark, physicalised, risky performances that remained true to the spirit of the novel. It is not possible to not evaluate this model, that features an excessive amount of narration and too little action, with these variations.


“Show don’t tell” is a easy mantra, however this manufacturing does an excessive amount of telling and never sufficient exhibiting, though the scenes that convert Bronte’s prose to dialogue as a substitute of narration are more participating. This unimaginative manufacturing, with its a number of entrances and exits, frequent transferring of chairs, and lengthy, onstage costume adjustments, cries out for uplifting physicalisation.

The evocative cello and dulcimer (Barton and Simon Carroll) could possibly be used more steadily to underscore dialogue, intensify environment and punctuate scenes, whereas the snatches of songs may benefit from harmonies or accompaniment.


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