Charlotte Bronte’s Gothic classic, Jane Eyre was first published in 1847. It is the tale of an unfortunate but brave orphan whose courage, integrity and vision prevails over her dimmest of circumstances.
The novel is dark, negative and relentlessly emotive. Shake & Stir Theatre Company have cleverly woven some unexpected but much welcome humour into their interpretation of this written work.
The bearded ‘child’ in sailor suit collar, the pretty, puppet-like Adele with her over-sized hair bow and charmless Blanch with her twirling fan, provided some satirical mirth without dismantling the essential darkness of the text.
This production was presented at Queensland Performing Arts Theatre by a cast of four established, experienced, very capable performers.
Nelle Lee in her central role as the heroine, was unwavering in believably bringing a beloved heroine, Jane Eyre to life on a Brisbane stage. Beautiful, youthful, soulful, Nelle skillfully, artistically steered her character from orphaned child to strong, passionate woman.
Helen Howard transitioned across the characters of Mrs Reed, Mrs Fairfax and Blanch Ingram giving each an individual, unique and believable identity.
Anthony Standish strongly and effortlessly carried the quadruple roles of John Reed, Mr Brocklhurst, St John and Mr Rochester. It’s bewildering to consider that as I admired and sided with Mr Rochester whilst despising the other males, I was actually immersed in the abilities of one skilled actor.
Award winning musician, Sarah McLeod composed the ethereal, original musical score and sang the haunting songs to her own accompaniment on piano. Sarah also played a delightfully dumb Adele plus other characters.
Director, Michael Futcher and his team have produced a striking and unique adaptation of a complex, classic narrative. A dark and difficult text has been interpreted into a contemporary form which is comprehensible to modern audiences.
Cremorne Theatre – Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), Cultural Precinct, Southbank (Brisbane)
Performance: Saturday 19 October 2019 – 7.30pm
Season continues to 9 November 2019
For more information, visit: www.shakeandstir.com.au for details.
Image: Jane Eyre – photo by David Fell
Review: Michele-Rose Boylan