Monthly Archives: April 2017

Review: Jane Eyre at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

JANE EYRE UK Tour 2017 Royal National Theatre

JANE EYRE was originally presented as a two part performance at the Bristol Old Vic in 2014. This new adaption is just over three hours long, which although is a much shorter version, was long enough for me. I’m not sure I would have been able to sit for too much longer, even though it kept me totally engaged from the very beginning to the end.

The story Jane Eyre is a much loved novel by Charlotte Bronte, which was published in 1847. It tells the tale of Jane Eyre, who was played by Nadia Clifford from birth to adulthood where she meets and falls in love with Mr Rochester (Tim Delap) the master of Thornfield Hall, whilst she is the governess to his child. She learns from a very young age that in order to thrive in life she needs to be fed not only physically, but emotionally, spiritually and intellectually.

The set was not what I would have expected from a period drama. It was simple and made up of metal ladders and wood, allowing different levels to be worked with, plus a white curtain surrounding the stage giving a clean crisp box like impression. The simplicity combined with the acting and lighting worked. A massive shout out to the technical team here – you were incredible; and the music was a perfect touch. Having  the band on stage, not in your face, but enough to draw your attention as and when needed was a perfect decision. Each scene took you emotionally to the next, completely engaging and leaving you wanting more. It was incredible how they remembered three hours worth of going up and down ladders; it was exhausting to watch.

This is possibly the most beautiful play I have ever seen. It was truly brought to life by a cast of 10, who all oozed talent. I particularly warmed to Bartha Mason (Meleanie Marshall) who had a voice that not only left you smiling, but also gave you goosebumps; there was also a few well known songs thrown in that totally blended into the story line. One more shout out also has to go to Paul Mundell, who played a few roles – his role as Mr Rochester’s dog was outstanding, I couldn’t help but giggle at his happy face and waggly tail, it was so life like. Everything was brought to life by your imagination. I can’t get over how such a simple set, had you seeing horses, dog, schools, houses and so much more.

I haven’t see a production of Jane Eyre before, but I can only imagine that this is a very fresh, up to date version, attracting not only the older but also the new generation to the theatre, keeping Jane Eyre a very much loved story – it’s a show definitely not to be missed, with a little something for everyone.

Jane Eyre runs until Saturday 29th April 2017 at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre. Tickets are available fromhttp://www.atgtickets.com/venues/aylesbury-waterside-theatre or call the Box Office on 0844 871 7607.

JANE EYRE UK Tour 2017 Royal National Theatre

 

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Review: GHOST The Musical at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

ghost

I am sure there are very few people of a certain age that haven’t seen the classic 1990 movie Ghost, a film that very nearly didn’t happen. I couldn’t remember the last time I saw the film, so I was going to refresh myself by watching it leading up to the show. But with Easter and the school holidays, time ran away and the closest I got to watching it was the movie trailer en route to the theatre; at least I was able to refresh myself with the story line. Needless to say by the time I got to Aylesbury Waterside Theatre I was excited for the night ahead, and it was clear from what felt like a sold out opening night that I wasn’t the only one.

So, for those of you that don’t know. Ghost is about a banker Sam Wheat, played by Andy Moss that you would recognise from Hollyoaks, and an artist Molly Jensen played by Carolyn Maitland. One night as they were walking home they were mugged and during the struggle with a gunman, Sam was shot leaving Molly alone to cope with his loss… or so we think; until he meets Oda Mae (Jacui Dubois) a psychic that helps Sam set things right.

We couldn’t see the stage when we went in. All we could see was a simple blue curtain, reflecting the colour of the advertising material with the quotes ‘Oh my love, my darling…’ and ‘I’ve hungered for your touch’, which of course had you humming the famous Unchained Melody song before the show even started.

You could argue that the show didn’t really get going until Sam died. But I would say that was the same with the film, as anything before Sam dying just set the scene, which of course showed us how in love the couple really were. It’s really hard to pull off such love and emotion on stage, plus with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze setting the bar so high, yet they nailed it. Initially I thought the smiles and mushy stuff, boarded on cheesy, but as the show went on and as you got to know the characters, it worked; they worked.

I did wonder how they would adapt the film to stage and how the songs would bring the story to life. Unchained Melody was of course the famous song we were all longing to hear. I’m actually playing it now as I write this. If I was being really picky of all the 15 songs they performed there is probably only one I questioned was necessary. Actually, come to think of it,  that’s probably the only thing I would change during the whole evening, so that can’t be bad.

During Act One I caught a few people wiping their eyes; I smiled but didn’t think there was anything to get that emotional about. Then as the story unfolded and as we learned about the betrayal of Carl (Sam Ferriday), Sam’s colleague and we saw how Oda Mae got emotionally attached to Sam wanting to help him in protecting Molly, I found my emotions also running away with me.

There is no doubt that this is a very talented cast. Yes, maybe the set could have been a little more flashy at times; although the simplicity of the scene involving the Subway Ghost (Garry Lee Netley) was excellent. Maybe a few more characters were needed to get a bigger impact in the dance scenes, but these are minor details that really didn’t matter. The love and emotion between the two main characters stole the show, together with the strength, passion and emotion in their voices – they completely won me over.

For the first time ever in my life and in the three years I’ve been writing reviews I cried in the theatre; therefore the show must have nailed it to make me believe!

Ghost runs until Saturday 22nd April 2017 at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre. Tickets are available from http://www.atgtickets.com/venues/aylesbury-waterside-theatre or call the Box Office on 0844 871 7607.