United Kingdom Critic
“Jane Eyre”, playing at Newbury’s Watermill Theatre and then touring locally, is an enjoyable, albeit relatively plain adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s novel. I appreciated the accuracy of this adaptation; however, it could have benefited from an increased running time.
The production is simple but effective. Staging is limited, but fully utilised. Many details of the plot are narrated, allowing the play to stay true to the book without every event within it being fully acted out. Importantly, the Gothic tone of Brontë’s story – often diluted in adaptations – is not lost in this performance.
“Jane Eyre” is well-acted by a cast of only three. The title role is played by Rebecca Tebbett, whose performance is suitably grounded and down-to-earth, whilst still being immensely likable. Wreh-Asha Walton and Alex Wilson play all of the remaining characters, which is quite a feat. They switch between the roles deftly, and perform all of them with great conviction.
This play’s flaw is that it feels extremely rushed; “Jane Eyre” is a long story, and it is impossible to do justice to the plot and characters in only 70 minutes. For example, the character of Helen Burns – who has a major role within the book – is seen for just a couple of minutes within the play. Adèle, Jane’s student, is barely seen at all.
That said… Considering that my biggest criticism of this play is that there’s just not enough of it, I would definitely recommend it to any Brontë buffs or fans of the Gothic.
“Jane Eyre” was adapted by Danielle Pearson and directed by Chloe France.
“Jane Eyre” will tour locally, after playing at Newbury’s Watermill Theatre from the 29th October – 2nd November.