Stunning Adaptation of Jane Eyre at MK Theatre

The most imaginative adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre at Milton Keynes Theatre.

An energetic and imaginative new adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece, Jane Eyre, is at Milton Keynes Theatre, until Saturday 15 July.

JANE EYRE UK Tour 2017
Royal National Theatre.                                       Photo: BrinkhoffM+Agenburg

2017 marks the 170th anniversary of the first publication of Jane Eyre – a significant time to be touring Charlotte Brontë’s classic and much loved story. The highly acclaimed co-production between the National Theatre and Bristol Old Vic heads to Milton Keynes this summer with Nadia Clifford taking the central role of Jane Eyre and Tim Delap as Rochester.

Charlotte Brontë’s story of the trailblazing Jane is as inspiring as ever. This bold and dynamic production tells the story of one woman’s fight for freedom and fulfilment. From her beginnings as a destitute orphan, Jane Eyre’s spirited heroine faces life’s obstacles head-on, surviving poverty, injustice and the discovery of bitter betrayal before taking the ultimate decision to follow her heart.

Director Sally Cookson, said about her production of Jane Eyre: ‘Adapting a novel for the stage is a challenging prospect – especially when that novel is cited as many people’s favourite of all time. It is always daunting when you’re working on a story which everyone knows so well, because you want to surprise and maybe challenge people’s expectations, without losing any of the things which make them like the story in the first place.’

JANE EYRE UK Tour 2017
Royal National Theatre                                                   Photo: BrinkhoffM+Agenburg

Manchester born and bred Nadia Clifford has previously appeared at the National Theatre in Alistair McDowell’s sell-out production of Pomona and Tim Delap will make his National Theatre debut as Rochester. They are joined by Hannah Bristow (Helen Burns/Adele/St John/Grace Poole/Abbot), Matthew Churcher (Musician), Alex Heane (Musician), Melanie Marshall (Bertha Mason), Belfast born and bred Paul Mundell (Mr Brocklehurst/Pilot/Mason), Cardiff born David Ridley (musician), Evelyn Rivers (Bessie/Blanche Ingram/Diana) and Lynda Rook (Mrs Reed/Mrs Fairfax). The cast is completed by Ben Cutler, Jenny Johns, Dami Olukoya, Francesca Tomlinson and Phoebe Vigor.

Jane Eyre is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 15th July

Box Office: 0844 870 0887 or online:  www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes  

I was lucky enough to get a ticket for this company’s opening night at Milton Keynes Theatre and these were my thoughts:

It takes companies as skillful as the National Theatre and the Bristol Old Vic to collaborate and between them dissect, strip down, rethink and then reassemble one of the world’s classic stories – and come up with another world class classic performance!

This wonderful performance is not what you might expect. It has fine music, but it’s not a musical. It has interesting choreography, but there’s precious little dance. The costumes are just right, but this is not your standard period piece.The sound effects and lighting are perfectly blended, managing to echo exactly the emotions of the various characters. The set is reminiscent of the decking at home that I’ve been meaning to rip up for ages and the half built house from 7 Brides – but it is completely believable in all its forms during the story.

You might expect the leading roles in any National Theatre production to be played to perfection – which they most certainly were by Nadia Clifford and Tim Delap – but I could see no weak link in any of this chain of players. I think special congratulations for the wonderful performance of Lynda Rooke playing two very different women Mrs Reed and Mrs Fairfax and, like the entire cast, various other roles. Likewise Paul Mundell’s characters were all wonderful, including Pilot the dog that was utterly believable without resorting to the use of any hideous furry costume!

This was most certainly an evening not to be missed. even though I think it slightly indulgent of the director to keep the show at 3hrs 15 minutes. There were certainly scenes, beautifully played, but we did get the gist after ten minutes but they took 30 minutes over the telling.

I don’t ever profess to be an expert, I am a keen theatregoer and the above is purely my own opinion. But I’m pretty sure you’ll agree with most of it if you can get a ticket! If you know anyone that’s managed to get one – offer them a small fortune for it, you’ll thank me afterwards!

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