Jane Eyre: An Autobiography

Jane Eyre – An Autobiography has to be one of the most moving pieces of theatrical storytelling ever created; quite simply, it’s astounding. Hands down the best adaptation of Jane Eyre I have ever seen, in any medium. And there have been quite a few.

Powerful, polished and absolutely unique, breathing life into the characters like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

Fiercely loyal to the novel, Jane Eyre – An Autobiography has been adapted by Elton Townend Jones, retaining much of the original text, to be performed by the unbelievable talent of Rebecca Vaughan. She plays Jane, fully formed, telling her story from childhood at Reed Hall to time at Thornfield, her escape to Moor House and her final return to her lover.

Vaughan plays all the roles, using vocal variety and her skill in physical theatre to her advantage. This was done so expertly and seamlessly that it is possible to forget you were watching one single actress, and, instead, are able to lose yourself in the expert and evocative storytelling. The narrative was told with complete commitment and conviction, and Vaughan embodied the character of Jane so fully and realistically, bringing out all her humour and wit and independence.

Rochester is not portrayed as a typical romantic lead, with all of his Byronic flaws being brought out in the open instead. His portrayal is very loyal to the book, and yet aspects that one may have skimmed over in reading are brought out: his manipulations, his jealousies… The unlikeable qualities managed to make the tale more realistic and powerful, however, and the interpretations of the novel were absolutely convincing throughout.

Jane Eyre- An Autobiography is a fantastic introduction to Bronte’s masterpiece, but for those who know and love the novel, it is a show not to be missed. The performance is powerful, polished and absolutely unique, breathing life into the characters like nothing I’ve ever seen before. 

Reviews by Fiona Russell

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The Blurb

Struggling to think, live and love beyond the stifling expectations of duty, class and convention, governess Jane Eyre and Master Edward Rochester take a dark journey towards sensual and intellectual liberation. Told through Jane's eyes, this autobiographical novel shocked the Victorians, and Charlotte Brontë's gothic subversion of fairy tale romance is now distilled for the stage (under its full title) by writer/director Elton Townend-Jones. Fringe favourite Rebecca Vaughan embodies Everywoman Jane and several other characters in this exploration of love's realities. Previous shows: Austen's Women: I, Elizabeth: The Unremarkable Death of Marilyn Monroe: Female Gothic: Dalloway.

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