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Blazing Brontë

With Acclaimed productions like Dracula, Animal Farm and A Christmas Carol under the belt, Queensland-based shake & stir theatre co. is no stranger to re-imagining beloved, classic literature for contemporary audiences.

Their latest offering, with performances in Darwin and Alice Springs, sees Charlotte Brontë’s classic, fiery masterpiece Jane Eyre take centre stage.

By Kate Conway

Ross Balbuziente is shake & stir Artistic Director, also Creative Producer of this production, and says the company loves to draw modern parallels to classic texts and probe their relevance to society. Brontë’s empowering, feminist message is at the forefront of this production.

“This story has gone down in history as one of the original feminist works, and continues to inspire countless women across the world to take control of their own destiny. Jane Eyre is a story for every female who has never felt good enough, pretty enough, strong enough or worthwhile,” he says.

Lead actor and co-adaptor Nelle Lee says the team was drawn to Brontë’s well developed, multi-dimensional and flawed characters, as well as the dark, evocative text.

“The gothic nature of the way that Brontë wrote Jane Eyre is beautiful, it’s captivating as well as quite haunting in some parts. Without ruining too much of the story, I think the way that Brontë crafted it is one of my favourites because the supernatural elements are very well woven in, and the reveals are very rewarding,” she says.

To complement the adaptation, the show features live music composed, written and performed by Sarah McLeod of The Superjesus.

“It’s a different kind of world for her but she adapts so beautifully, and it’s a relationship that works. She has scored the music, so it is quite cinematic, and she has given all the characters themes that really connect you to them. And then she has some pretty awesome rock ballads written specifically for the show,” Lee says.

“Her voice is just second-to-none. It’s raw, and she has such a beautiful tone that sits in this world perfectly. It is pure magic what she is doing on stage.”

Stepping into such a well known, classic character is a bold undertaking, but Lee says the team approached the project with integrity.

“People come along and say, ‘it’s my favourite novel’, and we say, ‘we hope we do it justice!’ When you are up against a collection of well-loved adaptations [it can add pressure] but I think that if you are truthful with the work, and you are honest with the story and the message that you are telling, I think that we do it justice.”

Delicately juxtaposing romance with gothic creepiness, also featuring pyrotechnics, shake & stir delivers a retelling of Brontë’s classic with a modern edge. Don’t miss it!

Jane Eyre
WHEN WED 12 OCT | 10AM & 7PM
COST $20-$50

Alice Springs
COST $40-$62

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