REVIEW: Northern Ballet's Jane Eyre

Northern Ballet have done an excellent job of breathing new life into a literary classic that turns 170 this year.

Wednesday, 11th April 2018, 10:06 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th April 2018, 10:11 pm

Jane Eyre opened at Sheffield’s Lyceum Theatre this week and runs until Saturday night (April 14).

Here, Charlotte Brontë’s gothic tale of an orphaned girl’s quest for belonging is beautifully conveyed through a fuse of traditional and contemporary ballet, choreographed and directed by Cathy Marston.

Jane Eyre is set against the tempestuous, sweeping backdrop of the Yorkshire moors- which serve as an undercurrent captured not only in the gloomy grey colour-pallet of the set, but also through dance.

The ‘D-men’, an amorphous all-male chorus, perfectly embody the moors Jane fights her way through at the opening of the show- and also her psychological demons.

Dreda Blow is brilliant in the title role, her deliberately guarded movements complimented by Javier Torres’ brooding and enigmatic Rochester- a believable and poignant chemistry between the two dancers allows Blow to eventually soar as the relationship rapidly develops.

For me, it was Victoria Sibson’s portrayal of the ‘mad wife in the attic’, a carnal and highly sexualised Bertha Mason, that stole the show- particularly during her concluding pas de duex with Torres.

The image of her cavorting in the flames in a torn scarlet gown, while Thornfield Hall burned around her, lingered in my mind long after the curtain fell.

Thought I felt the creators missed a trick in omitting some a few notable scenes from the book, such as the Red Room sequence in which Jane is tormented by the ghost of her dead uncle, comprising more than 184,000 words into a two hour ballet is no feat to be scoffed at.

A must-see for fans of the book- but this hauntingly beautiful production is bound to mesmerise those unfamiliar with Brontë, too.