Blackeyed Theatre in association with South Hill Park Arts Centre (venue)
27 November 2020 (released)
26 November 2020
Blackeyed Theatre's production of Jane Eyes had already enjoyed an extensive tour when it was forced to end prematurely due to the Pandemic. It is a delight to see that this has the opportunity to now be enjoyed on-line. At a time when we crave Theatre, there is always the worry that a filmed version won't quench that thirst sufficiently. This production quells any such worries.
The adaption by Nick Lane is sharp and extremely true to the novel, whilst always understanding what is needed to bring the heart of the story to the fore. He excels at this, in this clever production. He beautifully captures the complexities, and damn right strengths, of Jane in a world where the odds are forever set against her.
The music and songs of George Jennings are totally immersed in the production and rightly uses Charlotte Bronte's own words from various sources as the lyrics. The way this echoes Jane's' inner self' works extremely well.
Adrian McDougall has to be hugely congratulated for not only directing this wonderful piece of theatre, but bringing it back so a new on-line audience can enjoy it. Blackeyed Theatre's style of reduced and highly versatile casting is perfect for telling the intimate nature of Jane Eyre. The physical manipulation of simple props to convey different places and situations in the piece is theatrically clever, with the depiction of Rochester's horse being a particular favourite.
It would be wrong to single out any particular performance in this ensemble tour-de-force. Kelsey Short, Ben Warwick, Camilla Simson, Eleanor Toms and Oliver Hamilton all give excellent performances in all their various guises. The effortless switching between characters and musicians adds so much to the storytelling.
The stage design by Victoria Spearing is stark and has strong echoes of the burned out ruins of Thornfield Hall. This embodies the sense of storytelling and gives Lighting designer Alan Valentine plenty of scope for dramatic lighting.
As with all filmed productions there are times when you wish you could see more of the stage picture, but this is more than compensated by the close-ups that really allow you to see the intensity of relationships.
A hugely enjoyable production that reminds us all, how Theatre at its best , enriches the soul.
For tickets visit blackeyedtheatre.co.uk