Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Tuesday 25 July 2017

Review: Jane Eyre @ Theatre Royal Brighton

This quite extraordinary production of Charlotte Brontës classic not only pulls new threads from the well-known and loved story, but also brings a fierce physicality to the stage.


Nadia Clifford as Jane Eyre

Originally devised by the company at Bristol Old Vic (in two parts) and transferring to the National Theatre before touring, the sense of teamwork here is both palpable and thrilling. 

Characters multi-role, restlessly and continually passing in and around the set without any hint of confusion - the intent and story is always clear and driving forward.

The set itself defines and contains the piece - a playground of bare wood, metal ladders, a huge platform, plain backdrops and a wooden floor glowing under superb lighting. 

Once the incredibly talented (and energetic!) cast hit the stage, the riot of movement hardly stops as Jane's story unfolds. 

Jane (played by Nadia Clifford, and wonderful in the role) is seen here as an exultant feminist - joyfully and stubbornly kicking out at everything around her as she"s shunted from pillar to post. 


"It's a girl" are the first and last words of the production, bookending the production with text as statement. 

The length of the adaptation (around three hours including interval) allows us the luxury of looking at Jane's story, and focussing much less on the well-known "madwoman in the attic" trope and more on her childhood and journey as she grows to adulthood.

Lighting and set are instrumental in bringing the fever dream of the novel's key moments to life - the young Jane locked in the "red room" is evoked by floods of scarlet light, real flames bursting up as Rochester's house burns, window frames (wielded by the ensemble) shutting Jane in, and in moments of pure theatrical joy, releasing her.

Music and sound design are central to the production, with the small band playing onstage for much of the action, adding barrages of percussion, twisty accordion, piano and strings. Sound effects from the subtle (rain, birdsong) to the apocalyptic are gorgeous throughout. 

Melanie Marshall plays Bertha Mason, Rochester's "mad" wife - and she is given her voice throughout the action, patrolling and watching the action, her velvety mezzo singing punctuating the story with sometimes provocatively anachronistic songs ("Mad About The Boy" worked for me; "Crazy" not so much).

Rochester (Tim Delap), dishevelled, distracted, and commanding is magnificent; Hannah Bristow alarming and endearing in equal measure as Rochester's ward, and a special mention must go to Paul Mundell's turn as Rochester's dog Pilot - funny, but also poignant, as we see him give his unconditional love to Jane which his master at first cannot.

This epic sprawl through Jane Eyre's psyche is a fearless, unmissable tornado of a show which leaves some indelible images on viewers - director Sally Cookson has, along with the cast, created something special here - and Nadia Clifford is a real name to watch in the future.

Jane Eyre at Theatre Royal Brighton until Saturday 29th July 2017. CLICK HERE for info.

by: Gary Cook




Share    

Pic by John Morgan

The music of much-loved Belfast singer-songwriter Bap Kennedy is being celebrated with a new release Raving for Bap by Brighton-based ravers, The Raving Beauties; all profits going to Belfast's Marie Curie Hospice

You know the story and have probably seen the films, now Brighton Rock is back and this time it's a stage adaptation that features a soundtrack composed by the acclaimed singer, musician and composer Hannah Peel.

Straight off the back of a string of summer gigs and festivals up and down the country, The RPMs return with a bigger sound and a new focus.
Pic by Phil Nicholls www.philnicholls.co.uk

UK-based singer/songwriter Sarah McQuaid's new album, If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous, muses on mortality, but it's by no means all gloom. 

Reading the wonderful new Ronnie Lane oral biography, Can You Show Me A Dream?, it would be easy for the reader to be left with the impression that Ronnie's life cycle had been a wild journey with a sad ending. But for Ronnie the journey hadn't ended. The letter had left the envelope, that's all.

On the back of last weekend's gig at Sticky Mike's Frog Bar, in Brighton, Jordan Allen are releasing new single and firm live favourite, R.O.S.I.E.

Jim White gets around. When he's not releasing his own critically acclaimed solo albums he splits his time producing records for other songwriters, exhibiting his visual art in galleries and museums across the USA & Europe and publishing award winning fiction.

To mark 150 years as a performance venue, Brighton Dome is seeking memories from across its rich history. Submissions will help inform new heritage displays which will go on show when the refurbished buildings re-open in late 2018.

Paloma Faith – one of only two British female artists this decade to have their last three albums go double platinum in the UK – has released her fourth album, The Architect.

Greg James and Chris Smith's Kid Normal has been chosen as the 2018 'big read' for children across Brighton & Hove and beyond. 

Son of Dave is fifty years old, and has lived for twenty-one years in the UK, hailing originally from Winnipeg Canada where he was steeped at a young age in the blues-bar tradition. 

The stand-up Jon Richardson is chatting from a rather unusual location. He reveals that,“I'm currently in the Aldi car park in Clevedon.” Who said that the life of a comedian isn't non-stop glamour?

A remake of one of Brighton's most iconic films, Brighton Rock, is set to take place this week on the 70th anniversary of the classic starring Richard Attenborough – and members of the public are invited to dress up in vintage 1940s attire and take part.

Brighton charity Same Sky has launched its crowdfunder for Burning the Clocks 2017 – an uplifting antidote to the excesses of a commercial Christmas. 

Archive search

Search our archives for what's on and gone for the best of this city's theatre music comedy news and much more...







Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd