Thursday, 29 August 2013

Review - Jane Eyre - Shanghai Ballet at The Coliseum


This summer saw Shanghai Ballet’s London debut with an adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, a novel often cited as being quintessentially English even though it has universal themes of love, betrayal and sacrifice. Choreographed by Patrick De Bana, this production transforms the story from heroine Jane’s autobiography to a love triangle which brings more focus on Rochester’s first wife and “mad woman in the attic” Bertha Mason. Rather than starting off with Jane’s traumatic childhood, the production begins with her arrival at Thornfield Hall which can confuse readers of the novel.The only reference given to Jane’s past is the ghost of her friend Helen who jaggedly circles around her during moments of solitude.


Patrick De Bana states that he was drawn to the character of Bertha and that was apparent in the choreography for the role as masterfully played by Fan Xiaofeng - passionate, vulnerable and with a growing sense of heartbreak, moving quickly en pointe like a angry moth trapped in a jar, as Rochester’s love for Jane develops.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Review - Oliver Reed: Wild Thing at St James Theatre, London

www.stjamestheatre.co.uk
Oliver Reed - actor, prolific boozer and professional hellraiser - had a life and career so talked about to the point where he became like a mythical ancient god found in fables of romp and drama. Even if you know nothing about the drinks and the punch ups, Reed’s film roles showed a one-off individual who left a lasting impression. My first introduction to “Ollie” Reed was in Oliver! as brutal criminal Bill Sykes - a dark scary presence amongst the gaiety of ‘Oom-pah-pah’. For other audiences, a first Reed experience could have been 'Women in Love', which bore the first ever male full frontal nude scene in British cinema, or the heavily censored 'The Devils' with its explicit themes of sex, violence and religion.