...went to see an adaptation of Jane Eyre at the Theatre Royal, Brighton last week. I'm very glad I got to see it - Jane Eyre has been my favourite book since I was a kid and I've never seen it on the stage before - but I can't say I was impressed. Obviously the story had to be abridged, and of course I wasn't expected a whole variety of sets to cover the different places Jane lives in the book, but... it was a bit of a damp squib.
The whole thing took place in one room in Thornfield, important chunks of the story were explained away in a couple of lines of dialogue, it sped along far too fast (the plot should simmer slooooowly), and Peter Amory (Chris Tate from Emmerdale) as Rochester really wasn't very convincing. There were moments of greatness - mainly when one of Charlotte Brontë's original lines was delivered with spirit as part of the dialogue - but I kept being distracted by what was lacking.
Am currently trying to read (I say trying - I've started reading about six books at once, which means I'm making little progress with any of them) Lyndall Gordon's biography, Charlotte Brontë: A Passionate Life. So far it's a bit dry and wordy, am hoping it'll pick up a bit of speed. I first got into Jane Eyre when I was eight and took the audiobook (read by Dame Wendy Hiller) out of the library - Rochester was my first crush! I borrowed those tapes so many times my Mum threatened to ban them from the house. So I read the book, and I've read it every couple of years since then.
Am interested in getting hold of The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde - a fantasy novel based of the story of Jane Eyre, where characters have the power to go into classic books and interact with the characters. And I should re-read Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhys' prequel to Jane Eyre, about the early life of Rochester's first wife, Bertha Mason, who becomes 'the mad woman in the attic'.
There are many other filmed versions of Jane Eyre I've yet to see. There's one starring Samantha Morton and Ciarán Hinds, an older BBC version with Zelah Clarke and Timothy Dalton (although this may be the series I remember watching on Sunday teatimes when I was a kid, it's just that he's not the Rochester I remember - he had black hair), a 1970 version with Susannah York and George C. Scott, the 1943 film starring Joan Fontaine and Orson Welles, and a low-budget 1934 film starring Virginia Bruce and Colin Clive. I got the DVD of Franco Zefirelli's Jane Eyre (with William Hurt and Charlotte Gainsbourg) for my birthday, and I watched it drinking green tea from my Jane Eyre mug. Both were spot-on.