DWRF 2017: Jane Eyre: An Autobiography

This show will also appear at the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival

Dunedin is incredibly lucky to have secured the latest Dyad Productions play Jane Eyre: An Autobiography for the Readers and Writers festival this year. The company first visited our southern shores during the last festival in 2015 with Dalloway, and this latest production is as stunning as the last. Rebecca Vaughan shows again that she has an alchemist’s touch on the stage. She inhabits a handful of characters from Jane Eyre and gives them life far beyond the original page. This show was an hour and a half long and not once did Vaughan drop a line or character.

Whilst there were many occasions to admire the ways characters were embodied by Vaughan, one of the most touching scenes was between Jane and Mr Rochester – Vaughan of course was playing a love scene, with all its nuances, essentially with herself, but it was so believable that members of the audience were in tears.  Let’s just pause for a moment and really think about that  – Vaughan created a climactic scene between two characters, playing both back and forth, and it was as if we were watching realist theatre. Outstanding stuff.

jane eyre.JPG
Other highlights included the exquisite costuming and lighting design.  It’s a hard ask getting these things right when travelling a show – designs need to be roadworthy and easy to set up.  Vaughan’s grey Victorian costume looked deceptively plan from a distance, as was fitting for Jane Eyre’s time and place in society. But up close, the immaculate pleated details and tailored shapes were remarkable. In complement to the acting and costuming, lighting design utilised colour and silhouette to astonishing effect, with reds and oranges throwing puppeteering-like shadows on a plain white backdrop.

Bravo, Dyad Productions – you really deserved that standing ovation.  If you are in Dunedin this weekend, I plead with you to go and support this international theatre, not only for the sheer delight of experiencing something so good, but also to ensure their return once more to our fair city in the years to come.

Reviewed by Lara Liesbeth

You can catch Jane Eyre: An Autobiography on Sunday 14 May at 1pm, at the Fortune Theatre in Dunedin. And as stated above, Dyad will be talking Jane Eyre to the Auckland Writers Festival from Tuesday 16 – Saturday 20 May. 

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