Rob Winlow has fashioned a diverting, grown-up, pleasant (but not without its bite) chamber musical that captures some of the dilemmas faced by the quiet girl who scribbled immortal novels in a Hampshire rectory.
Rob Winlow's songs are pleasing, especially when the cast sing in harmony, with more than a hint of Gilbert & Sullivan in the patter numbers.
The audience amongst whom I sat were mostly women, though (as both the male director and male writer prove) Austen's work is universal in its appeal, as all great art must be. See it if you're a fan and, if you're not, see it anyway
The highlight of the production is Edith Kirkwood’s assured performance as Jane. She has a charming voice and vivacious presence. Jenni Lea-Jones is enjoyable as Mrs Austen and Thomas Hewitt and Adam Grayson provide game support as the suitors and Rev Austen.Of course it's not everyone's cup of tea, and some critics have said that it is too flimsy ("frustratingly thin portrait of an author"), but we thought that if you like musicals and you like Jane, this is a production you might like to know about. Tour dates for the show are available here.
Storytelling is central to what it is to be human, and giving a voice to generations of important but neglected women writers benefits everyone. History is incomplete without them. Donna Coonan, editorial director of the Virago Modern Classics.
"Jane" shades are pictured here. So what do you think? Suitable frames for the famous author?
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Wind in the Willows is still one of my favourite books – evoking so much that I loved about the English countryside and idyll of life on the river bank However, I have to admit that when I became a middle-aged woman, it did cross my mind that the close companionship of these male animals was something very like those close friendships I had observed between a few cohabiting, sweet and fussy bachelors I had known as a young person. I look back now and wonder whether some were possibly in a covert relationship at a time when open homosexuality was a criminal.offence But I think Professor Hunt is being just a little too literal. Regardless, it is still a wonderful book (As a UK exp-pat I always make a point to read the “Dulce Domum” chapter at Christmas!)
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