Making its debut at Leeds Grand Theatre, Northern Ballet’s Jane Eyre cements the company as one of the country’s brightest artistic talents. Through the glorious medium of ballet, it presents a unique take on the Brontë classic, offering the audience an alternative interpretation of a national treasure while paying homage to the original features of the enchanting 1847 tale.
The opulence of The Grand makes the perfect stage for this mesmerising production and is matched only by the calibre of the dance skills of the troupe of ballet dancers. Simplistic in set design, Patrick Kinmonth allows the dancers to take centre stage, leaving the audience to be captured by the passionate movement and complete consumption of the performances.
I’ll confess, I’m no Bob Fosse and and wouldn’t know a plié if it came and bopped me on the nose. But through Cathy Marston’s choreographic brilliance and the breathtaking abilities of the performers, Jane Eyre proves to be one hell of a show. From the lead dancers (Dreda Blow and Javier Torres) whose chemistry as the two leads (the vulnerable yet strong Jane and the mysterious and somewhat exotic Edward Rochester) ignites a metaphorical fire to match that set alight by the deranged Bertha (played to perfection by first soloist Victoria Sibson) to the junior members of the company, it’s a tour de force. Of the junior cast, Rachael Gillespie is notable as Adele, bringing a youthful vigour and delight to the performance evocative of the printed novel.
Philip Feeney’s spellbinding musical score is brought to life by the sublime orchestra with Geoffrey Allan at the helm. As I sat in my plush red velvet seat, I noted how every element of the performance magically connected to produce a thoroughly bewitching experience.
I wholeheartedly encourage you to catch this production. If you miss it, you’ll lose the opportunity to see one of the UK’s leading ballet companies in all its splendour. Who knows? It might even prove to be as much of an eye-opener to the mesmerising world of ballet as it was to me.
Northern Ballet’s Jane Eyre is touring to Belfast Grand Opera House (April 4-7), Sheffield Lyceum Theatre (April 10-14), Cardiff New Theatre (April 24-18), London Sadler’s Wells (15-19 May) before ending its tour at Salford The Lowry (June 6-9).