Jane Eyre, Outdoors at Lytham Hall
The accomplished ensemble work of all six members of the Chapterhouse Theatre cast made this an open air performance to savour in the first of this summer’s four plays at Lytham Hall.
Laura Turner’s skilled adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s vivid novel commanded attention and the 500-strong audience were utterly silenced by its moments of poignancy and violence.
Audibility on a breezy evening was an issue for a few in the first half, but not in the second.
Eliza Jade caught the independent-mindedness of a very Yorkshire Jane Eyre perfectly and, as Mrs Fairfax, Joanne Henry captured both loneliness and the consequent warmth on Jane’s arrival.
Louise Mellor was scattily charming as Adele, chilling as the deranged Bertha.
In an essentially women’s play, the three men played their roles effectively.
Aaron Charles was suitably harsh and powerful as Mr Rochester, yet responded movingly to his blindness in the finale, while Hugh Roberts and Gareth Cary both had splendid diction and impeccable tone throughout.
A gruelling summer tour is in prospect, but it was Lytham’s privilege to enjoy the freshness of this new production, enhanced by evocative music and song and given admirable pace by Rebecca Gadsby’s clear direction.