Reviewed by Lee-Anne McCarthy
Wales Millennium Centre this week has welcomed the thrilling adaptation, by Claire Harman, of the well-loved novel Jane Eyre. Having read Jane Eyre many years ago I fell in love with the tale penned by Charlotte Bronte. I was greatly intrigued by how a book of such great content could be abridged for the stage without losing everything I as a reader adored of it.
The tale is of the tumultuous life of Jane Eyre. Left an orphan as a babe in arms and passed from pillar to post without love, affection or guidance. She was a target of hurt, upset and injustice throughout her formative years. The story follows her story from childhood through to womanhood constantly the heroine standing up for all that was unfair and unjust in her life and that of those around her. Eventually emerges the love story of Jane and Rochester that like most love stories runs far from smoothly. Throughout the story I find myself rooting for Jane willing her the happiness she was so cruelly denied as a child.
The work of the cast was incredible. The cast is very small for such a significant production. Many of the cast members adopted numerous roles. Jane Eyre was played by Nadia Clifford who began on the stage as a young, sometimes, defiant Jane. She oozed the innocence of a little girl but the heart and courage of a lion. In every scene, I found myself entranced by Clifford’s performance. Her later love interest was played by Tim Delap he was everything I imagined Rochester to be right down the beard. He was charismatic, strong and capable but sometimes weak and helpless even vulnerable around Jane.
Throughout the performance there was wonderful accompanying live music. This music really added to the feel and atmosphere of the production. I felt that without this something would have been lost in translation.
Now this is going to sounds rather confusing by the staging of the show was incredibly simple yet at the same time very complex. With the mix of ladders and staging you had a real feel of the grandness the house yet with small addition of stage props like the arm chair you feel like you’ve entered the comfort of a more intimate drawing room where you engage with just the few characters there.
This is a timeless classic and for those avid fans there will of course be elements you may feel missed or underplayed but the nonetheless this is an outstanding production of a well-loved novel. For those without knowledge of the book this production may confuse you a little at times but yet I would hope it would enthuse you to engage in Bronte’s original tale for yourself.
I give this production an amazing 5 stars.
Tickets cost from £11 to £47 (booking fees may apply).
Jane Eyre is at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff from 27 June to 1 July 2017, for more information or to book tickets visit www.wmc.org.uk or call the box office on 029 2063 6464.
Wales Millennium Centre, Bute Place, Cardiff Bay, CF10 5AL | 029 2063 6464