Presented by Therry Dramatic Society
Reviewed 17 August 2017
This classic English novel is brought to the stage by a dedicated cast whose performance is unfortunately overshadowed by the excessively long running time.
Charlotte Bronte’s 1847 novel tells the story of our young heroine, Jane Eyre, on the journey to discover her moral and spiritual sensibility within 1800’s England and its strict and rigid societal structure. The audience first discovers 10-year-old, orphaned Jane living with her cruel and tormenting Aunty and cousin (who throws books at her) until she is shipped off to Lowood Institute, a religious boarding school for orphans.
Jane evolves into an educated young lady, fluent in French and a talented piano player. Once she turns 18 she moves on from the boarding school to become a Governess at the mysterious Thornfield country house. Here she meets the abrupt, bossy and mysterious Mr Edward Rochester and a sordid love-affair begins within which a dark secret hides that only adds to the tension between the pair.
Jane Eyre is a classic novel beloved world-wide and is typical of the long, twisting story line of the times (similar to that of Dickens), and this, unfortunately, is the reason why this show falls short of being an enjoyable performance.
Unfortunately, the choice of an unimaginatively bare backdrop of grey-marble walls and stairs makes it hard to imagine what Jane’s world truly looked like. This, combined with the long running-time, made it difficult to remain stimulated and interested.
A mention must be made of Sandra Davis who provided an impressively extensive range of high quality costumes which never failed to impress. As the set lacked much in the way of props and items, the costumes were an integral part of transporting the audience into Jane’s world, especially when combined with the realistic character portrayals.
Zanny Edhouse is inspiring as the fierce yet delicate Jane. Edhouse presents a clear and well enunciated British accent and the cast convincingly captures the various classes of 19th century England. Unfortunately, between Edhouse and Steve Marvanek, who plays Jane’s love interest – the not-so-noble nobleman, Edward Rochester – there is little to no chemistry between them and so Jane’s romantic plight seems almost worthless.
Despite the impressive effort from the large cast, the fantastic range and quality of costumes and the classic storyline, the two-and-a-half hour running time is just too long and significantly undermines the overall performance.
Reviewed by Georgina Smerd
Venue: Arts Theatre, 53 Angas Street, Adelaide
Season: 17 – 26 August
Duration: 2 hours and 50 mins (including 20 min interval)
Tickets: $12 – $27