Licensed with the kind permission of the author
On 20 Sept 2015 I wrote about Northern Ballet's Jane Eyre. I based my article on the press release of 17 Sept 2015 so did not have a lot to go on. I mentioned the career of the choreographer, Cathy Marston, the theatres where the ballet would be performed and a little bit about the novel.
We knew nothing about the casting at the time, so I wrote:
"No casting has been announced yet. I guess Tobias Batley and Martha Leebolt must be favourites for Jane and Mr Rochester. Blow and Bateman are also obvious alternates for Jane and maybe Takahashi for Rochester. I can only speculate who will be unfortunate enough to dance poor, mad Mrs Rochester. I can see a nice role for one of the younger dancers in Helen and two horrible ones in Aunt Reed and the Rev Brocklehurst."We now have a lot more information thanks to the short film Jane Eyre/ by Cathy Marston for Northern Ballet - preview and interviews with Marston and Bateman which indicates that Hannah Bateman will dance Jane. I am delighted to hear that because I am a big fan of Bateman. The rehearsal photos show Javier Torres whom I believe to be an excellent choice. I am glad to see Abigail Prudames, Gavin McCaig, Antoinette Brooks-Daw and Sean Bates in those photographs too.
In the film Marston gives some details about the score. I had said in September that it had been composed by Philip Feeney but Marston explains that he had arranged music by Fanny Mendelssohn (1805 - 1847) who was a near contemporary of Charlotte Brontë (1816 - 1855) with insertions from Felix Mendelssohn and Schubert.
I am looking forward to this work for a number of reasons. I like the story, the characters, the film and photos which I have discussed above. I think it will be the best that Northern will have done all year and a lot of people seem to agree because the performances in Doncaster are sold out. Given this show's likely popularity the choice of venues is odd. Richmond at the end of the District Line is not the easiest place to reach for balletomanes in say Hampstead or Woolwich or even Wimbledon and there are no performances in Manchester, Mliton Keynes, Nottingham, Southampton, Edinburgh, Sheffield or even Leeds where the company has an audience. No doubt there is a reason.