By Blue Orange Theatre
Pre-feminist and post-Gothic, Charlotte Bronte’s novel has elements of both.
A young woman rises to independence from an unhappy childhood. The man she loves ends up damaged and married to her.
The Gothic shows in elemental names, Eyre, Rivers, Burns and Pilot the dog, with Mr Rochester as a fire figure.
There is much fire imagery and many instances of ‘wandering’. Feminism is more easily shown, especially with a quality actress like Lorna Rose Harris.
Her Jane is still, decent, passionate, quirky and bold when roused. Her eyes swim with tears at one point.
The adaptation, by Eric Gracey, only begins with Jane leaving Lowood. So you miss her sad childhood and ten chapters of the novel. The set design by Mark Webster suggests a B&Q garden fence. Thus the Gothic elements suffer somewhat in Rebecca Gadsby’s production.
But there are moments between Jane and Rochester (Graham Hill) when you are aware of “infinite passion and the pain of finite hearts that yearn”.