I mentioned in my “Spotlight On Charlotte Brontë” post that I watched an adaptation of Jane Eyre by the National Theatre. Every Thursday, the National Theatre have been showing a different play on their Youtube channel. As soon as I found out they were going to be showing Jane Eyre, I immediately set a reminder. Not only is it one of my favourite Brontë books, but I’ve also never seen a theatre adaptation of it.
Apparently I’m incapable of planning my time efficiently at the moment as I said I was going to write a review. Which I am. But unfortunately, the adaptation of Jane Eyre is no longer available to watch on the National Theatre Youtube channel (sorry about that!) On Thursday 16th April they showed Treasure Island which I will be catching up on this weekend!
Although you can no longer watch the adaptation via their Youtube channel, I hope this quick review is still enjoyable and helpful.
This adaptation of Jane Eyre is directed by Sally Cookson and was performed in London in 2015.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching Jane Eyre and despite being just over 3 hours in length, sitting in my room watching this production felt like I was genuinely at the theatre and the time flew by so quickly.
The portrayal of Jane in this adaptation was so different to how I had pictured Jane when reading the book. Though initially I thought this to be a bad thing, my opinion gradually changed as I became more and more intertwined with the story, watching Jane grow on stage. I felt Jane’s loneliness, her uncertainty and, towards the end, her boldness and resolve. In this way, I wouldn’t call this an adaptation of Jane Eyre but instead a re-imagining of the story we all love.
It is creative and physical – the play is constantly moving and so are the actors! This visceralality combined with the set design that enabled such movement made me feel more inside Jane’s head than ever. The actors weave through the set, climbing up ladders, walking planks… adding to this hectic and mish-mash of emotions in Jane’s mind.
The music was incredible. I thought it really added so much to the production though I wasn’t quite sure how to feel when modern songs were intertwined with classical pieces, I grew to love these additions and the voice of the singer was so powerful and really commanded the attention of the room.
For me, it was a real experience to finally hear my favourite quote from Jane Eyre performed and said aloud. “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will”. It was delivered with fire.
This re-imagining of Jane Eyre is very true to the book, with added feminism, fire and passion peeking through the perhaps overlooked vulnerability and thoughts of Jane. The stage set and music complemented the story and Sally’s vision.
Thanks for reading!
Love, Zoë xx