From Fourteen

Fourteen (shake & stir theatre company)

QPAC, Cremorne Theatre

August 27 – September 17

The Cremorne Theatre stage is packed with nooks and crannies to become the Yeppoon settings of Shake and Stir Theatre Company’s latest page-to-stage adaptation, the world premiere of “Fourteen”, as part of this year’s Brisbane Festival program. Dan Venz’s slick choreography ensures that places appear in a flash from amongst Josh McIntosh’s effective set design, with even characters emerging with blink and you could miss it precision. The show is fast moving from the outset, propelled along by a dynamic soundscape of not just ‘90s bangers of the angsty ‘Prisoner of Society’ sort, but atmospheric sounds of birds, between class movement and alike (sound design by Guy Webster), placing us firmly into the time and place of the show’s share of Shannon Molloy’s story, first told in the award-winning journalist’s 2020 best-selling memoir.

In many ways, period pieces can be contradictory, as we simultaneously reflect nostalgically upon pleasant point-in-time memories, while also giving thanks for how far we have hopefully have come as a society. In this instance, 1999 is seen through the lens of the trauma of Shannon’s (Conor Leach) childhood. Life is tough for young, gay and creative Shannon growing up in the Central Queensland coastal town, especially thanks to his attendance at its hyper-masculine, rugby-obsessed, all-boys school. From the first day of Year 9 we see his fourteenth year play out in a series of humiliations from entitled school bullies harassing him in suspect of his queerness, and so learn that he is in a dangerous place of struggle.

Fabian Holford’s costume design captures the story’s 1999 setting and, along with its of-the-era soundtrack, offers light in the darkness of Shannon’s bitter misery. Under Nick Skubij’s sensitive direction, however, “Fourteen” is ultimately about conquering trauma through family, loyalty, love and support, as well as a reminder of the importance of r-u-ok give-pause type moments in others’ lives.

The story’s darkness and light through hopeful moments are well balanced. There is a real discomfort and some potentially triggering moments to the heartbreaking honesty of the bullying and betrayal at the core of Shannon’s story (the play contains strong coarse language, mature themes around suicide and sexual identity, simulated violence and depictions of sexual abuse), however from the early action of his being bullied, we are subtly transitioned through the poignancy of the story’s latter parts to the optimism of its ultimate message. And there is a lot of laughter and late ‘90s nostalgia along the way.

So slick is the story’s initial unfold, that it takes a little while to realise that despite the number of characters making appearance, there are, in fact, only seven performers in its cast. The many swift and diverse character changes must represent a challenge to the actors and they all do well to establish the distinction of each of their characters through more than just their sometimes small costumes changes or additions, but rather the realisation of different physicalities of statue and gait. Johnny Balbuziente’s is particularly adept at this, transitioning with ease between characters such as Shannon’s protective older brother Brent and his brutish school bully.

Leon Cain shows incredible versatility as Shannon’s disconnected dad, an intolerant school teacher and also the overly-enthusiastic Andy, the school’s only out gay. Similarly, Helen Cassidy easily transitions between the disparate roles of Shannon’s protective older sister Trinity, one of his besties since Primary School Nicole and even a joyful, caring art teacher. The best scenes, however, come from Amy Ingram as Shannon’s other bestie Morgan, especially in her hilarious drunken party pash scene with Shannon (evidence, he thinks, that he may only be half gay).

Karen Crone anchors things as the rock of Shannon’s family, his down-to-earth mother Donna, but has her own break-out, audience-favourite high-energy Mambo No. 5 fashionista moment as Jessica, star of the fashion show Shannon is executive producing. And Mitchell Bourke makes Shannon’s first serious boy crash, Tom, at-once gentle, genuine and mischievous. This makes for Shannon’s ‘Kiss Me’ “She’s All That” moment, all the more lovingly received by the audience.

This is, however, Leach’s show. As first person narrator of the episodic narrative, he is barely off stage. With gentle mannerisms, soft voice and natural enthusiasm, he gives us a Shannon that is unapologetically, authentically himself, immediately endearing the protagonist to his audience and investing us in his emotional journey from hurt towards healing.

Unfortunately, experiences of bullying and feelings of isolation and alienation are just as current and relatable today as in the late ‘90s of the story’s setting, and the show offers resonance and reassurance to young people that from fourteen things are going to be fine.. great even. However, its appeal goes beyond just this demographic. Indeed, anyone who has experienced some part of their youth in the ‘90s or some section of the life as a teenage in a rural town where doing laps around the shopping centre represented the height of boredom-busting entertainment, will be able to identify with its all too real reminders of Lemon Ruskis, dial up modems and the Vengaboys intercity disco.

As a queer Australian story, “Fourteen” is not only important, but inspirational in its moving ‘don’t stop, never give up, hold your head high and reach the top’ anthem messaging of resilience and hope. The verbatim ensemble piece is not only an exciting example of Australian contemporary performance, but a dope technicoloured trip back in time that should not be missed.

Photos –  David Fell

Thousand tops

With 2020 being largely taken out of the mix, it has taken me just over 8 years to review 1000 shows as Blue Curtains Brisbane. And my top 10 favourites from within them, appropriately feature shows from 2013 to 2021… a mix of comedy, cabaret, musicals, theatre and festival fare.

1. Delectable Shelter (The Hayloft Project)

The Hayloft Project’s 2013 out-of-the-box black comedy, “Delectable Shelter” literally took place in a box as bunker at Brisbane Powerhouse in its claustrophobic tell of five doomsday survivors planning a utopian society. With ‘80s power ballads and hilarious homages to their ancestors from later descendants, there was so much by which to be entertained in the anarchy of its apocalyptic storytelling, making it my absolute favourite.

2. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (National Theatre of Great Britain)

In 2018, the National Theatre of Great Britain provided QPAC audiences with an unparalleled insight into the mind of someone living with an autism spectrum condition with their acclaimed production of Mark Hadden’s much-loved novel. Inventive, imaginative stage design which saw the floor and all three walls of the boxed-in set transformed into mathematical graph paper, provided many visually memorable moments authentic to experience of the show’s London production.

3. All My Love (HIT Productions)

HIT Productions’ sensitive “All My Love” chronicled the fascinating and little-known relationship between the larger-than-life writer and poet Henry Lawson and the radical socialist and literary icon Mary Gilmore, taking its audience along an evocative journey about the people beyond their words, but also their passion in a “Love Letters” type way.

4. Ladies in Black (Queensland Theatre)

The musical so nice, Queensland Theatre programed it twice. With stunning visuals and costumes, a soundtrack featuring over 20 original Tim Finn songs and humour, the Helpman-Award-winning musical took audiences into both the glitz of a high-end 1950s department store shop floor and the personal lives of its employees with infectious wit and charm.

5. The Revolutionists (The Curators)

The Curator’s 2021 drama-filled French-revolutionist play about a playwright writing a play was passionate, powerful, political and full of important messaging about women’s importance in history and the fundamental role of theatre and culture in history and civilisation.

6. The Tragedy of King Richard III (La Boite Theatre Company)

In 2016, Daniel Evans’ gave meaning anew to Shakespeare’s depiction of the Machiavellian King Richard III through bold exploration of its story’s silences, gaps and biases and dynamic discovery of new character depths and unexpected provocations.

7. Hamnet (Dead Centre)

As part of the 2018 Brisbane Festival, Ireland’s Dead Centre used audio visual technology in combination with live performance to give us the perfectly-pitched and movingly thought-provoking story of Shakespeare’s one son (just 11 when he died), knowing that he is just one letter away from greatness.

8. Boy Swallows Universe (Queensland Theatre)

My favourite ever Queensland Theatre show…. More than just recreating Trent Dalton’s story, the company’s landmark 2021 production of “Boy Swallows Universe”, honoured the original text and transformed it as a work of its own, dynamic in its realisation and anchored around its theme of resilience.

9. California Crooners Club (Parker + Mr French)

The 2016 Spiegeltent saw audiences treated to the first Brisfest appearance of the cool-cat cabaret crooners of the “California Crooners Club”. The energetic and charming show from genuine, generous performers (led by concept creator Hugh Sheridan), was a marvellous mixed bag of old, new and original numbers curated together and harmonised like familiar favourites.

10. Forthcoming (shake & stir theatre company)

Shake & stir theatre company’s contemporary adults-only choose-your-own-adventure romantic comedy “Fourthcoming” not only placed the course of the narrative in the audience’s hands, but provided an avalanche of non-stop laugh-until-you-cry moments.

And….

Special mention to La Boite Theatre Company’s “Still Standing”, which in 2002 and 2003 presented a music-filled immersion into the Brisbane rock scene of the 1980s as counter-culture to the repressive Bjelke-Petersen regime that although I saw before starting reviewing, still stands as my favourite ever Brisbane theatre experience.

Century’s choice

Fortunate as we have been in Queensland this year, I was able to experience exactly 100 shows in 2021 and though I am thankful for every single one of them, there are of course some that stand out as favourites.

1. The Revolutionists (The Curators)

The drama-filled French-revolutionist play about a playwright writing a play was passionate, powerful, political and full of important messaging about women’s importance in history and the fundamental role of theatre and culture in history and civilisation.

2. Boy Swallows Universe (Queensland Theatre)

More than just recreating Trent Dalton’s story, Queensland Theatre’s landmark production of “Boy Swallows Universe”, honoured the original text and transformed it as a work of its own, dynamic in its realisation and anchored around its theme of resilience.

3. Triple X (Queensland Theatre)

As the Queensland Theatre play that audiences waited a year for, “Triple X” provided a commentary on the complicated issues of gender and sexuality that was funny, honest and powerfully moving.

4. Prima Facie (Queensland Theatre)

Queensland Theatre’s production of Suzie Miller’s “Prima Facie” was a riveting 100-minute one-woman tour-de-force indictment of the legal system, appropriately acclaimed by the thunderous applause of three curtain calls.

5. Of Mice and Men (Ad Astra)

Ad Astra’s production of John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” served as a poignant reminder of not only the heartbreak of its story and themes, but of how classics are classics for a reason.

6. Fourthcoming (shake & stir theatre company)  

Shake & stir theatre company’s contemporary adults-only choose-your-own-adventure romantic comedy “Fourthcoming” not only placed the course of the narrative in the audience’s hands, but provided an avalanche of non-stop laugh-until-you-cry moments.

7. The Producers (Altitude Theatre)

Altitude Theatre’s inaugural production, “The Producers” was self-aware and hugely entertaining with distinctive musical numbers and laugh-out-louds a-plenty 

8. Anatomy of a Suicide (BC Productions)

The precision with which all elements of the three consecutively unfolding stories of BC Production’s “Anatomy of a Suicide” unfold made for a powerful exploration of the ideas of family, mental health, love and strong women.

9. Elektra/Orestes (The Hive Collective)

The Hive Collective’s dynamic adaptation of Euripides’ classic Greek tragedy “Electra” was elevated in interest through a very clever second-half reversal of scenes, where events occurred in complement to the onstage action alongside the original dialogue.

10. Return to the Dirt (Queensland Theatre)

Steve Pirie’s Queensland Premier’s Drama Award winning “Return to the Dirt”, inspired by his real experiences working in a funeral home was not just an examination of what it means to die in the 21st century, but a very funny and moving night of entertainment at Queensland Theatre.

And of particular note….

Best Performance:

Glace Chase – Triple X (Queensland Theatre)

Playwright, Glace Chase was magnetic as the candid Dexi in “Triple X”. Bold but vulnerable, she made Dexi complex in her multi-dimension and identifiable in her inner conflicts, with a portrayal that added immensely to the emotional effect of the show’s unprecedented storytelling about love in the 21st century.

Oliver Childs – Our House (Brisbane Arts Theatre)

Oliver Childs not only showed a talent for characterisation in his realisation of the two Joe Caseys of the alternative realities of Brisbane Arts Theatre’s “Our House”, but his enthusiastic energy and vocal delivery worked well to encapsulate the spirit at the core of the jukebox musical’s experience.

Best Musical – Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (Spotlight Theatrical Company)

It was easy to understand why Spotlight Theatrical Company’s season of “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” sold out before even opening, given the company’s polished approach to all of its aspects and especially the strong performances of its main cast members.

Best Ensemble – The Producers (Altitude Theatre)

With a cast all pushing their eccentric performances to their full potential, Altitude Theatre’s The Producers was high-energy and immensely entertaining throughout.

Best Music – Creedence Clearwater Inspired Featuring Proud Mary (QPAC)

Proud Mary gave QPAC audiences a reminder of just how good live music is with an infectious 2-hour rock back to a time when the prolific Creedence Clearwater Revival was the soundtrack of a generation.

Best Cabaret – Your Song (little red company)

The little red company’s world premiere of “Your Song” was a lively throwback to rock and roll with an edge of glam in a glitzy rainbow of celebratory colour and unquestionable on-stage talent.

Cleverest – Anatomy of a Suicide (BC Productions) 

With concurrently played out stories across three generations of mothers and daughters, BC Productions’ “Anatomy of a Suicide” had a lot going on in its Brisbane premiere. As the stories played out side-by-side, switching across stage sections, episodic scenes danced together rhythmically, colliding in synchronisation of key lines to emphasise the commonality of concepts, making for a cleverly crafted provocation around ideas associated with legacy.

Best New Work – Return to the Dirt (Queensland Theatre)

While Steve Pirie’s Queensland Premier’s Drama Award winning “Return to the Dirt”, deals with a number of heavy themes, it is a well-written, emotionally rich play that offered a refreshing take on a young man’s story.

Most Fun – Our House (Brisbane Arts Theatre)

Brisbane Arts Theatre’s jukebox musical “Our House”, based on the songs of Madness didn’t take itself too seriously, including through its number of nods to band’s music videos, making its experience all sorts of infectious fun.

Funniest – Fouthcoming (shake & stir theatre company)  

Thanks to performances in the face of its changing narrative, the hilarity of shake & stir theatre company’s “Fouthcoming” never stopped.

Special mention goes to the post show-within-the-show discussion of La Boite Theatre’s “Caesar”, which provided the funniest scene of the year, through its absolutely hilarious TikTok livestream nods to the Brisbane theatre scene.

Most Thought Provoking – Locked In (Shock Therapy)

Shock Therapy’s “Locked In” provided a thought-provoking exploration of experience and impact of living with a rare neurological disorder, for sufferers and their families alike.

Best Stage Design Staging – The Revolutionists (The Curators)

Intimate traverse staging allowed audience members to become fully immersed in recognition of the stunningly rich aesthetic and, appropriately for a play set in revolutionary France, its cast of real-life fierce female characters to burst down its fashion runway.

Best Costume Design – The Revolutionists (The Curators)

Attention to detail added to the dynamism of the experience of this Curators show with lush pink and red mix-patterned ruffled and frilled costumery conveying a clear sense of opulence befitting the play’s French Revolution setting.

Best Sound Design – Elektra/Orestes (The Hive Collective)

The Hive Collective’s adaptation of Euripides’ classic “Electra” was elevated by a vivid, atmospheric sound design that both heightened audience suspense and fevered its story’s foreboding.

Best Video Design – Boy Swallows Universe (Queensland Theatre)

The blockbuster video design of Queensland Theatre’s “Boy Swallows Universe” both gave us Brisbane iconography and nooks and crannies alike, but bled its imagery into the story’s themes.  

Restirring a Christmas classic

A Christmas Carol (shake & stir theatre company)

QPAC, The Playhouse

December 2 – 24

At certain times of year or age, we have perhaps all felt a little like the Ebenezer Scrooge of Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella “A Christmas Carol”. As shake and stir theatre co’s adaptation reminds us, however, the cold-hearted elderly miser that we meet at the outset of the story is still capable of transformation. The initially spiteful and mean-spirited character’s redemption comes after he is visited, on the night before Christmas, by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley (now bound for eternity in the chains of his own greed after a life of hoarding his wealth and exploiting the poor), and the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come, which takes audiences to a lovely celebration of the festive generosity of spirit at the core of the Christmas season.

The award-winning production is as pantomime as Brisbane gets, particularly in the performances of Eugene Gilfedder as the misanthropist Scrooge, whose disdain for do-gooders and Bah! Humbug! desire to just be left alone, indicates that he is clearly far from merry… just ask his long-suffering clerk Bob Pratchett (Lucas Stibbard). More than just being cantankerous, however, Gilfedder’s Scrooge is quite funny, especially when relishing in his own amusements, which gives the character a depth beyond caricature. Bryan Probets, too, is wonderfully engaging as Marley’s ghost of Christmas past, present and future, particularly in drag as an Edwardian lady all dressed in white. And his physical commitment to floating in place and hovering across the stage is impressive in its add to the story’s authenticity.   

Michael Futcher’s nimble direction sees the perennial story pace along with performers jumping in and out of scenes and roles without detracting from audience investment in their worlds. Ross Balbuziente is magnetic as the younger, almost-once-married Scrooge of earlier times. He also banters buoyantly with Nick Skubij as children in the Christmas-present Cratchit family experience, both to juxtapose the family’s innocence and happiness against Scrooge’s misery, and also in foreshadow of the tragedy coming should Scrooge not change his miserly ways.

This is a grand production, perfect for the entire family, complete with live music, yule-tide carolling, innovative video design, lavish costumes, snow and a supersized turkey. Josh McIntosh’s design ensures that Dickensian London is brought vibrantly to life through a complicated but versatile mobile set design. Guy Webster’s sound design and Jason Glenwright’s lighting design, both cool us into the Victorianness of its drama and warm us towards its final affirming messages. And on-stage musicianship courtesy of internationally-acclaimed violinist Tabea Sitte soundtracks our transport across times.

While the show is now in its fourth year, this “A Christmas Carol” remains thoroughly innovative, particularly in its state-of-the-art video projections by Craig Wilkinson which awaken the story’s supernatural forces, particularly its ghostly visions and give us some Doctor Who type time vortex travel visions. While there are some moments of darkness, in keeping with its grim gothic ghost story origins, Nelle Lee’s adaption is ultimately a heart-warming tale that maintains the essence of the original, while igniting the appeal of the magical story to a modern-day audience. Indeed, it is difficult to leave the Playhouse Theatre upon the show’s end without being filled with uplifting appreciation for the Christmas spirit as something to be lived out every day.

Photos c/o – David Fell

Fourthcoming for more

Fourthcoming (shake & stir theatre company) 

QPAC, Cremorne Theatre

October 23 – November 7

Shake and Stir’s “Fourthcoming” is one of the funniest shows Brisbane has seen given its avalanche of non-stop laugh-until-you-cry moments. The sexy new contemporary romantic comedy is very adults-only, taking things in a different direction for the company, whose typical fare is transformation of classics of the page to stage.

It may be Joel Devereaux’s images of Johnny Balbuziente that appear most prominently on the show’s posters, (obviously taking advantage of his recent “Married at First Sight” fame), but it is really professional trivia host Gwen’s (Cece Peters) story, and what a refreshingly honest take of female desire and sexual expression it is. Things start with a sexy bang in Gwen’s bed before the choose-your-own-adventure story places the course of the narrative in the audience’s hands as they use phones to vote in real time to help the protagonist make choices on each date and about her final decision as to who she will see for a second date from four suitors. Enter Balbuziente who alternates between the four distinct options at Gwen’s disposal: sensitive literary-type and thespian Sebastian, adorable but inexperienced Aaron, forthright Franco and sexy Sandy.

With modern dating at the core of its narrative, the relevance of “Fourthcoming” is clear from the outset, given the digital dependence of modern life, especially during times of lockdown et al, but there is also a careful attention to detail that leads to appreciated topical additions to Nelle Lee’s writing, such as mention of this week’s weather, booster dose dialogue and alike. And the fact that the audience determines its plotlines through use of their phones, only makes its cleverness complete.

The demands of a two hander are amplified by the unpredictability that comes from its multiple possible narrative threads and Peters and Balbuziente handle the show’s challenges with ease. Peters makes Gwen real, relatable and charming in her every-girl quirkiness. And she plays a hilarious, all-too-real overly emotional drunk. Balbuziente’s versatility is particularly impressive as he brings nuance to each of his different characters. While at their core, they are each a stereotype of sorts, he manages to find an inner truth and vulnerability in each one, even bringing a bit of humanity to conspiracy theorist Franco.

Creatively, the show is visually stunning and adrenaline-filled by a soundscape of Salt-N-Pepa type sexiness. Everything is dynamic from Jason Glenwright’s lighting design to Guy Webster’s sound design. And Craig Wilkinson’s video design both allows things to move along even when performers are off stage and transports us into the unique locations of each of Gwen’s dates, from a Mexican restaurant, to a mini-golf game, sip and paint session and a cultural art gallery outing that turns spicy courtesy of a sexy exhibition. The hyper real feel of its aesthetic is not only engaging, but fits perfectly with its digital themes.

Under Nelle Lee and Nick Skubij’s efficient co-direction, things move quickly as its ultimately uplifting story surfs the audience along on wave after wave of laughter. And its unpredictability adds an extra level of excitement. With an increasingly sassy Siri aiding Gwen’s navigation of daily life and some hysterical voice work from Leon Cain and Barbara Lowing, the hilarity never stops, leaving audience faces aching from the laughter. As promised in its program, this reality-theatre experience is entertaining with a capital E for escapism, enlightenment and enjoyment, that will leave you wanting to come again, multiple times for more.  

Photos c/o – David Fell

The Eyre affair

Jane Eyre (shake & stir theatre company)

QPAC, Cremorne Theatre

October 18 – November 9

whmu5nJw.jpeg

There is a chill in the air of the Cremorne Theatre as “Jane Eyre” begins. It’s an affair that befits the gothic terror of Charlotte Bronte’s sophisticated 1847 novel (originally published under the male pseudonym Currer Bell), represented in the stage’s steely blue aesthetic. Not only does it capture the miserable gothic dampness of the northern English landscape of its setting, but its shadows allow for unobtrusive execution of many of its cast’s multi-roles. Jason Glenwright’s lighting design is also used to great effect to later equally evoke the flickering of fire and the shadowy secrets of Thornfield Hall in this hybrid story of gothic romance.

The mistreatment of spirited orphan plain Jane Eyre (Nelle Lee) begins in earnest when as a 10-year-old she is cruelly confined to the novel’s notorious red room by her venomous aunt. She is soon shipped off to Lowood Institute, a religious boarding school for orphans, where she discovers Victorian class and gender hierarchies through the abuses of the headmaster, evolving into an educated young lady of conviction.

VtvCX1GQ.jpeg

This is just the start of what is an epic story so a long show and at times during Act One it feels this way, despite the considerable cut-down of the Lowood sections of the novel. However, the story’s early scenes are important to help the audience get to know Jane better to understand her plain-speaking pragmatism and righteous determination despite it being 1800’s England and, therefore, a time of strict and rigid societal structure.

k-hakvlQ.jpeg

After leaving Lowood, Jane assumes employment at Thornfield Hall, the impressive yet mysterious home of Edward Rochester (Anthony Standish). As governess to young Adele (Sarah McLeod), the French daughter of Rochester’s opera dance mistress, she is given opportunity to show her compassion and soon Jane and Rochester become inexplicably drawn to each other as the dark secrets locked within Thornfield’s walls begin to unravel, forcing Jane on a journey towards commanding control over her own life. It is in this, Act Two, component of the narrative, that the production is heightened by its original music, written and performed live on stage by multi ARIA Award-winner and frontwoman of The Superjesus, Sarah McLeod.

The most astonishing thing about this “Jane Eyre”, however, is that the dedicated cast contains only four members, such is the detail that they bring to the array of characters they portray (especially the supremely talented Helen Howard). And their constant choreographed movement around the set is also impressive. The staging is deceptively complex; it looks minimal, a structure of ladders and platforms, however, it gives the actors a, dynamic space in which to showcase their craft and they utilise every nook and cranny of it over the course of the story.

V0hQoyfw.jpeg

As Jane, Nelle Lee is the only actor to play just one character, although she still needs to embody both the unruly child of Act One and the later mature governess, which she does well. Her Jane is an isolated but bold and brave heroine, with care at the core of her being, seen in her consideration of Adele’s circumstances as being no fault of her own. As the mostly-silent Adele, McLeod is appropriately animated in doll-like demeanour, which adds some light-hearted relief to a show heavily weighted in expectations as much as subject matter. And while not understated, her take on the show’s madwoman in the attic, is wildly dark and terrifying, her head and face covered by her untidy hair.

b7tvKbzA.jpeg

In true shake & stir style, the production maintains the integrity of the classic novel while emphasising its feminist themes. This is a fiery Jane and a fiery story, literally in an impressive feat of staging. Standish’s Rochester may be a little less commanding, but still as impatient. as his novel self, however, he is humanised so as to make the audience eager for his and Jane’s romantic relationship to succeed despite its obstacles. Authentic language and conversation between the two evokes the emotive tone and stylistic devices of the novel’s connotative language, and convey a genuine connection. As always with the company’s page-to-stage adaptations, this “Jane Eyre” not only caters for fans of the fiction, but makes the story accessible to those new to the work.

ZfVDC9jg.jpeg
Certainly, there is much to celebrate in this adaption by shake & stir co-Artistic Directors Nelle Lee and Nick Skubij. The stagecraft is intelligently considered, with, for example, stylised movement between characters who never really connect, adding new interest to one of the most iconic pieces of English literature. Indeed, this is a powerful original adaptation, characterised by integrity and intelligence, set to sell out and then rise from it ashes to take Brisbane’s best out in tour of the country.

Photos c/o – David Fell