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Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Theatre Review: ‘Brontë: A Portrait of Charlotte'

Laura Rocklyn writes from New York:
From the moment that the yearning music swelled to fill the space and the cloaked figure began her slow progression down the aisle towards the stage, the audience at the Off-Broadway Actors Temple Theatre was captivated.  The action of the play, Brontë: A Portrait of Charlotte, is set in June of 1849 as Charlotte returns home from her final trip to Scarborough with Anne.   Having just buried the last of her siblings, Charlotte is drawn to look back over her past life and share some reminiscences with the audience.

The text of play, by acclaimed playwright William Luce, is an elegant rendering of Charlotte Brontë based on her correspondence with school friend Ellen Nussey.  Although the play focused a little too heavily on Charlotte’s burgeoning relationship with Arthur Bell Nicholls, to the neglect of some other facets of her character that could have been explored, it did give a good overview of her life for audience members who may not have been familiar with the story behind the author of Jane Eyre.

Irish actress Maxine Linehan inhabited the role of Charlotte with compassion and grace.  The few points in the action when she would stop, put on her spectacles, sit down in a chair and simply begin a letter to 'Dear Nell' were some of the most poignant in the show.  All that was needed for Linehan to engage the audience was her sensitive presentation of Charlotte through the unadulterated words of her letters.

For further details on tickets:
The Actors Temple Theater is located at 339 West 47th Street.

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