On Saturday evening, I went to Bristol, to visit the Old Vic Theatre to see their production of 'Jane Eyre', which is now back in Bristol (where it began) after a season in London.
It's a long time since I have been to the Old Vic. I used, with a friend, to go fairly regularly, and saw my first Hamlet (Iain Glen) there in 1991.
It is a lovely little theatre, and has the distinction of being the longest continuously-running theatre in the country, having first opened in 1766 (and thus celebrating it's 250th anniversary this year), and has recently been renovated.
Although the theatre is old, this production of Jane Eyre is new - and very good.
It has a small cast, so everyone, except Madeleine Worrall (Jane) and Melanie Marshall (Bertha Rochester) plays multiple roles - this does lead to one or two distracting moments (Lowood Institute turns out to have several remarkably hirsute and deep-voiced orphan girls, for instance)
I thought it was a really imaginative adaptation. I had some reservations about the number of ladders involved in the set, and would have liked the sub-plot about Jane's inheritance to have been left in,as that does emphasise that Jane has a real choice, between returning to Mr Rochester, marrying St John, or remaining unmarried and financially independent, but of course there is a limit to how much you can squeeze in to a 3 hour play!
I shall be looking out for more work from Sally Cookson, the director,and from the cast.