Lifeline Theatre’s “Jane Eyre” Review – Classic Novel Brought to Stage

 

For those who pine to see the classics brought to live theater Lifeline’s production of “Jane Eyre” is a must-see. 

 

Jane Eyre Promo #2 from Lifeline Theatre on Vimeo.

 

 

Many who vaguely remember the book will likely be intrigued to re-read it after seeing this production.

 

 

An adaptation of the classic romance by Charlotte Brontë by Lifeline Artistic Ensemble member Christina Calvit, the script hews closely to the outlines of the novel, with many of the cast members skillfully playing several roles with great dexterity. 

 

 

Using a minimalist set design by William Boles, we move from orphan poor house, to Mr. Rochester’s estate, to country roads where accidental encounters occur, to villages in storms where doors are shut to the title character and more. 

 

This is a long play, perhaps because the playwright was adverse to taking too many liberties with the storylines of the classic novel.   That is less so in the second act, which moves at a welcomed faster clip and spends far less time detailing situations and long narrative exchanges. 

 

 

This is not an especially emotionally gripping production, despite the high drama of the basic story.  For example, great passions in the love affair at the story’s core are explained more than demonstrated, or at times lost in the wordiness taken from the novel. 

 

Jane Eyre Promo #1 from Lifeline Theatre on Vimeo.

 

We often find ourselves simply immersed in following the story line.

 

Two minor characters in the story were relative standouts on the stage.  Ensemble member Heather Currie who plays three roles commanded our attention with each line she uttered.   Her stage presence was on display as she moved from part to part.  Young actress May Lou Hlava whom Chicago audiences may remember from her mute performance last year in Steppenwolf’s “The Wheel” has a poise and talent seeming well beyond her years and seems to be one well worth watching in the years to come.

 

Running through October 26 at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Avenue, Chicago.

 

For tickets call the box office at 773 761 4477 or visit the Lifeline Theatre website.

 

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Photos:  Suzanne Plunkett

 

 

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