I really enjoyed the National Theater’s production of Jane Eyre. I thought that the set with all the different levels to stand on was used cleverly to show the social standing of the characters (e.g. Mr Brocklehurst stood much higher to Jane). It also allowed the characters to show a lot of movement in the play. It was great having the live music on stage as I felt it added to the atmosphere of the play. I loved how the character Bertha was portrayed. The actress would appear on stage at intervals from the beginning to the end of the play and sing, never interacting or talking with the other characters. The actress/singer’s voice was incredible and the overall effect was haunting. It took me a while to realize that she was Bertha but when the realization struck me it fitted perfectly. I loved the use of fire on stage and thought that it was very sneaky of the people in charge to give Bertha a red dress and Mr Rochester a red shirt given all the connotations surrounding the colour red.
I liked the way Jane changed ages with the addition of different clothes, and her movement from place to place was extremely comical and provided a little light humor as did the actor playing Mr Rochester’s dog Pilot. Sometimes when an actor or actress plays more than one role it can be quite confusing, but in this case it was very effective. All the actors and actresses were very versatile and it was easy to tell which character they were at any given moment. I felt that more emphasis could have been placed on the character Helen Burns as it didn’t really feel that she made as much of an impact on Jane as she did in the book.
Overall, it was a very good, high speed performance that was entertaining but also loyal to the book. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the book or the movie.