In their one night performance of Jane Eyre, the Hull Truck Theatre Company capture the essence of Charlotte Bronte’s story about events at Thornfield Hall, in which our heroine falls in love with the owner, Mr Rochester.
In Laura Turner’s adaptation, directed by Nick Lane, Jane Eyre conveys the thoughts from her diary to the audience. The effect is like a pop up book with moving pictures. It presents a real challenge to the cast and it's fascinating to watch the three actors perform 15 characters without skating over any or skimping on detail and also playing them so well.
The relationship between the dark, handsome and aloof Mr Rochester and the eager to please and naïve Jane grows slowly but with great feeling. Andrew Dowbiggin and Rebecca Hutchinson make an incredible team in those roles and I also congratulate Andrew for playing the contrasting role of St John Rivers so well.
Both he and Mr Rochester propose to Jane but in such different ways. Mr Rochester’s proposal is full of passion and, yes, testosterone whilst Rivers’ offer of marriage is mundane. Viktoria Kay works her socks off to convey nine characters with such perfection. It’s not easy to switch from a dour Mrs Fairfax to a prancing, French ten-year-old, Adele. Yet, she manages to make it look effortless.
Tristan Parkes' sound design with gentle background music including unaccompanied songs by the cast, the sound of horses’ hooves and a mad woman’s screams, fit in well.
This is a cracking adaptation, played to perfection. I particularly enjoyed the scene with Jane and Mr Rochester on the eve of their wedding, as it captures the original text but nothing here is slavish.
And, of course, the inevitable happy ending that stays with you, long after the curtain comes down. Bravo!