My least favourite musical theatre adaptations


CATS

Cats opened on the west end back in 1981, composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and being based on Old Possums Book of Practical Cats (1939) by T.S Elliot. It was the West Ends 4th longest running show closing back in 2002.

It premiered at the New London theatre but there was trouble as Dame Judi Dench who had initially been cast as Grizzabella snapped a tendon in rehearsals. The role was subsequently taken over by Elaine Paige.

My main issue with the show and 1998 film is that the story line is weak. I normally love shows which are all  in recitative (sung all the way through with very few/ no spoken script) such as Les Miserables, Joseph and Jesus Christ Superstar…but not this one. The story basically follows a group of cats (surprise surprise !!) who are part of a group called the Jellicle tribe and the audience is informed that the lead cat Old Deutronomy will  choose an old cat to be reborn in the ‘heavy side layer’  Aside from this there is the ‘villain cat’ Macavity who is a master criminal and never found at the scene of the crime. Grizzabella is the oldest cat within the group and is an outcast as she is shabby. She is the chosen one to be reborn in the heavy side layer That’s pretty much it apart from some dancing and entertainment from the rest of the cast. The show is an empty shell compared to many others.

I have to say that I think John Partridge who now plays Christian in Eastenders is amazing as Rum Tum Tugger as he is a fantastic all round performer.  He and Elaine Paige are the real stars of the show.

LES MISERABLES IN CONCERT THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY

This has to be one of my LEAST favourite versions of Les Miserables. It was really hyped up and made to sound like it would be incredible…well in my opinion it really wasn’t. Some of the cast were excellent for example Matt Lucas as Thenardier , Katie Hall as Cosette and Ramin Karimloo as Enjolras I felt were the real stars of the show. I find Samantha Barks annoying as Eponine-she looks far too ‘clean cut’ to play the rough character of Eponine for one. She has a great ‘belting’ voice but I don’t really rate her as a singer.

Oh god and as for Nick Jonas (ARRRGH! need I say more??!!) I only heard negative feedback about him after the concert saying that he was way out of his comfort zone. What ever possessed Cameron Mackintosh to cast a 17 year old with very little west end experience alongside “legends” such as the phenomenal Lea Salonga I will never know. Having said that many expected Gareth Gates not to pull of the role of Marius in the 25th anniversary tour…he well and truly proved everyone wrong. He was sensational! It was Nick Jonas’s slightly frightened rabbit in the headlights/awkward facial expressions that really put me off. He struggled to hold long and powerful notes just about scraping a mediocre performance of “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables together” (by the skin of his teeth) It has to be said Jonas ruined the concert for me. There were so many other actors who could have played the role…why choose him?? Probably to sell more tickets!  What a let down !!

EVITA

I have never really been a fan of this show. I haven’t actually seen it live but I have watched the 1996 film starring Madonna as Eva Peron, Jonathon Price as Peron and Antonio Banderas a fair few times. The music is pretty good I don’t know what it is. I think it’s just the fact that I’m not very keen on 1930’s style musicals, they always seem quite dark and miserable (that’s just my opinion)

It’s a piece of history so the storyline is a strong one following the life of Eva Peron who starts out as a nobody, coming from a poor family in Argentina. She becomes a prostitute at a very young age (15-16?) The style follows her gradual rise to fame and fortune throughout her life.

I like Madonna’s voice but it sounds quite weak in this even though its pleasant to listen to.  Antonio Banderas is fantastic as Che Guevara though and plays the role of a storyteller brilliantly.

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL

4 words…. complete and utter CHEESE !! Its like where’s the crackers?? Vanessa Hudgens plays a far too good to possibly be true goody two shoes Gabriella which is cringeworthy. She can sing, I just don’t like her voice its irritating and sounds quite babyish even though its obvious that she’s had a LOT of training . The acting is irritating and too over exaggerated and follows a very typical storyline :

  • Troy meets Gabriella at a party on New Years eve
  • They go back to school and meet again as Gabriella is a new student there
  • They both audition for the same school musical
  • Both are asked to go for a ‘call back’ against Sharpay and Ryan who are brother and sister and get the lead part every single year
  • Surprise surprise guess who gets the parts…. Troy and Gabriella !!!
The story line isn’t great but it’s very easy to follow which is why it was so appealing to younger children. It’s a happy musical but really not to my liking!!

CRINGE !!

MAMMA MIA- 2008 film

Mamma Mia is almost as equally cringe-worthy as the last musical. As many people have said it was okay until Pierce Brosnan opened his mouth and attempted to sing…he was dreadful. Colin Firth just about gets away with the singing. The female singers are much stronger and I have to say that Meryl Streep’s singing performance as Donna was good considering she is not a trained vocalist. To be honest though the show is designed to be quite gimmicky anyway. I’m just not a fan. I find Amanda Seyfried annoying and an actress…I feel that she over acts half the time but she does have a lovely voice. That’s the problem with making film adaption of musicals they have to pick famous people to be in them…but then how many of the people chosen can actually sing well??

STARLIGHT EXPRESS

I saw a touring production of Starlight Express in Manchester back in 2004. It had the potential to be spectacular but as a touring production it really didn’t work. It was really Americanized and featured 3D projections which took away from the excitement as in the London Production it was made famous by the fact that the cast skate into the audience. The high energy races were pre-filmed which was disappointing. It ran from 24th March 1984-12th January 2002 at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in London. The costumes were pretty impressive and the music was fairly catchy but in my opinion it wasn’t one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s best pieces of work.

Well that’s my opinion…what do you think?


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Victimised


*Names have been changed in this blog post to hide their identity*

I am so tempted to name and shame this person. People who I went to school with might know who she is, but I will change her  name anyway just to stay on the safe side.

In year 8 at school *Marie*  was determined to be best friends with my close friend *Amy* (who I have already mentioned in a previous blog post) however Amy always included me in the group. Stacey was obviously not happy about this but continued to attempt to develop a close friendship with Amy by inviting her to her house, talking about it all day to try to get to me. Our friendship was fine for a few months but then *Marie’s* behaviour rapidly changed for the worst. Her behaviour became weird its was like all of a sudden she was a spilt personality calling us really offensive names such as ‘Mongs’ and ‘spazzes’ which really hurt. She would deliberately walk behind us imitating the way I walk, saying that I walked as if I were disabled which would really get to me. It really damaged my self-esteem. On non uniform days she would criticise what we wore. She even had the cheek to inform me that I had worn the same jeans twice in a row ! (the last non uniform  day had been about 4 months previously!) ridiculous !!

The bullying would continue in lessons. It was really hard because *Marie* would always make sure to sit close to us. She was so pathetic drawing insulting pictures of us making us look disabled. I really don’t understand why as neither of us were !! *Marie* would also bitch about us a lot, so that it was just loud enough for us to here if she was sat in front or behind. We discretely told our form tutor who made pointless excuses for her stating “She has a difficult life at home, her parents are divorced (that had been at least 5 years previously!!) No-ones life is perfect, everyone has their ups and downs so why use that to try to support what she was doing! It made me SO ANGRY !

Marie was absolutely having a whale of a time…she was winning and enjoying every single minute of it! We went to our head of lower school in hope of some support. I just remember sitting in his office having to write everything down. The issue was when he asked to see the three of us was that she was a very good liar and would deny a lot of things. She had to admit to some as there were witnesses to what she had done. The problem eventually got taken to the head teacher and Marie was made to  change form group but no actual punishment. I can only hope that she hasn’t/ will never do it to anyone else.

I don’t think I can really get across how awful this incident make me feel but I think it was the true breaking point and destruction of my self-esteem. It is better now but has never been the same since. In a way I feel that I have let Marie win. I hope that I never see her again. But I suppose I’d just be civil and deal with it like an adult as it is important not to dwell too much on the past.

My Advice to anyone being bullied

As Eleanor Roosevelt once said : “No-one has the right to make you feel inferior without your consent”

My advice is to never try and deal with the situation alone. Seek help by talking to someone that you trust .e.g. a family member or friend.

Jesus Christ Superstar…version 1973 or 2000 ?


“Jesus Christ, Superstar do you think you’re what they say you are? “

I have never actually seen the show live but now hope to if ever there was a revival. I remember my Mum and Dad seeing on Tour it in Blackpool back in 2000 and them not liking it very much as the story line is following an obviously morbid topic…the last week or so of Jesus’s life. Jesus Christ Superstar is a “Rock Opera” by Andrew Lloyd Webber opening at the Palace Theatre in London in 1972. It has been closed and revived a fair few times.

A rough plot overview

Jesus Christ Superstar tells the biblical story of Jesus Christ’s final days of life. Over two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ is being hailed as the messiah of Judea. The council are afraid of Jesus’s new-found power and the lead governor agrees that ” This Jesus must die” Judas disagrees with Jesus actions and believes that he has let the ‘fame’ go to his head. He also dissaproves of Jesus’s close friendship with Mary Magdeline “That a man like you can waste his time on women of her kind”. Jesus realises that his fate is to die and asks god to explain the reason why he has to go through with his death “Why should I die? See this saga through and do the things you ask of me?”

Nervous about losing their power, the Romans, with the help of Judas, find and arrest Jesus who is then taken to Pilate but refuses to say anything in his defence so not to go against his destiny. Pilate demands reasons but when Jesus will not answer properly he listens to the public who say that they want him crucified. He will not do so but instead whips him. When asked “But are you king? king of the Jews” Jesus only answers  “That’s what you say, you say that I am” Pilate is angered by this and answers ” Since you come from Galilee then you need not come to me! Your Herods’ race! “ King Herod also shows Jesus no sympathy mocking him  “You’re a joke you’re not the lord you are nothing but a fraud” Jesus is then imprisoned beaten down and eventually crucified.

1973

The 1973 version stars Ted Neeley as Jesus. It can probably be described as Jesus’s last part of his life crossed with the popular musical “Hair” as it is very colourful and hippyish though very dated now, but a classic. Although the film suffered from criticism from religious groups it was generally well received. It caused quite a stir as there was multi cultural casting. Carl Andersson who played Judas was black and Yvonne Elliman (Mary) is Hawiian.

I love Ted Neeley’s voice it is very typical of the 1970’s style and has a bit of a rock and roll edge. I think also he looks the most like I’d expect Jesus to look out of the 2 actors. The song “superstar” is tamer and less bloody although I think the 2000 version gives a better insight to what it really would have been like. The 1973 version was actually filmed in Israel making the setting much more realistic.

Elaborate sets could distract from the powerful lyrics. The film director used fairly minimalist sets and costumes. This may lose some people, but many would already be lost because of the rock music and the challenging ideas found within the lyrics. The set pieces contained some clever camera work that adds to the effect. One notable touch begins with a tracking shot in the sky of a solitary black vulture, transitioning to a scaffold where the black-robed Caiaphas and his other priests lurk vulture-like over their forthcoming plans.

2000

The most recent version was made in 2000 and it is filmed on a stage setting unlike the older version. Glenn Carter was chosen to play Jesus his voice is great very different to Neeley’s and has beautiful tone sounding more classical but not a patch on Steve Balsamo who I think is by far the most talented performer ever to play Jesus. His version of Gethsemane is unbeatable in my eyes. Some people disliked Carter’s  portrayal of Jesus and said that he was ‘cartoonish’ and that his acting was poor. I disagree as he portrayed a great deal of emotion. French actor Jérôme Pradon was cast as Judas, I personally prefer Carl Andersson’s voice in the 1973 version but I feel Pradon is the better actor however he is made out to be fairly evil when in reality it was more the fact that he was misguided. I feel the real star of the show is Pontious Pilate (Fred Johanson) with a deep, rich and all round incredible voice.

The style of the show is similar to ‘Rent’  or ‘American Idiot’ with the cast dressed in late 1990’s – early 2000’s clothing. It closely follows the psychology of the characters during the plot and can be described as quite obscure. Judas is a key tragic figure, he is unhappy in the way which Jesus is guiding his disciples and feels that he has gained too much power. He betrays Jesus later in the plot.

I adore this particular version of the song “could we start again please?” with Mary and Peter, there’s so much emotion in their voices really beautiful ! It’s so moving I was literally in tears the first time that I watched it. Again Judas is portrayed in a bad light when he just stands by and watches, yet does nothing when Jesus is being beaten. I find it a bit too ‘whiny’ and emotionless in the 1973 version, but then that is probably just down to the style of the singing.

The song ‘Superstar’ is pretty graphic and brutal in this version, Judas directly mocks Jesus in his face leading up to the last few minutes before the crucifixion. The whole scene leading up to the crucifixion is quite ‘sick’  and bloody,  however the 1973 version is possibly more subtle as Judas is more like an angel in the background…Jesus doesn’t know he is there. The very final song  John 19:41 is so sad, I ended feeling really emotional as the background music is beautiful. Mary Magdeline and other followers are sat crying on the stage.

Jesus : Ted Neeley or Glenn Carter?

Ted Neeley and Glenn Carter are both VERY different as Jesus. Neeley plays a more collected Jesus while Carter is more dramatic but I think this adds a great effect to the production. Neeley looks more like Jesus whilst Carter was described as ‘pretty’ by critics. . I think Glenn Carter plays a scared and less composed Jesus who never really comes to term with his fate. He plays Jesus as a political person who lets things get out of control whilst Ted Neeley is more bitter about the whole situation and was also critacized as being ‘whiny’ . I think both portrayals are great. Their voices are also very different Neeley has a stereotypical and awesome 1970’s rock and roll voice whilst Carter’s is more attractive to listen too with beautiful tone, yet he has great power and range. However I have to say that Ted Neeley’s version of Gethsemane is the best although neither are a patch on Steve Balsamo’s who I think is the most talented actor ever to play the role of Jesus…his voice is stunning and his vocal range is mind-blowing!

Character quote : “Surely you’re not saying we have the resources to save the poor from their lot. There will be poor always pathetic and struggling look at the good things you’ve got. Think while you still have me move while you still see me you’ll be lost and you’ll be so sorry when I DIE”

Herod : Josh Mostel  or Rick Mayall?

Josh Mostel is comical and comes over as being idiotic, whilst Rick Mayall is extremely creepy. I cannot take either seriously however I don’t think the audience is supposed to…neither can really sing. It just adds an entertainment factor to the film! I feel that the 2000 version is more effective as Herod mocks Jesus directly to his face. In the 1973 version Jesus is a fair distance away so you cannot really see his reaction during the song. Whereas in the 2000 version Jesus stays calm and collected.

Character quote : ”  You’re a fake, you’re not the Lord you are nothing but a fraud!!”

 

Pilate : Barry Dennen or Fred Johanson

Barry Dennmen is quite poor in my opinion, his voice is weak and not as emotive and I find him hard to take seriously . I LOVE Fred Johanson his voice has rich tone and incredible and his character portrayal is perfect. For some reason he reminds me of Jaffar from Disney’s Aladdin! and some people compared the style of his character to a Nazi officer due to his style of dress…..Fred Johanson wins hand down for me!

Character Quote : ” Who is this broken man cluttering up my hall way who is this unfortunate? ”

Annas :  Kurt Yaghjian or Michael Schaffer

I like Michael Schaffer from the 2000 version. It made me laugh when on you tube people had commented and compared him to Lord Voldermort! It must be the very pale skin and bald head!!

Character Quote : “Listen to that howling of the blockheads in the street a trick or two with lepers and the whole town’s on its feet”

Ciaphas : Bob Bingham or Frederick B. Owens

I’m not sure. Frederick B. Owens had a HUGE vocal range hitting deep notes impressively. I had to laugh when  I read someones comment stating they thought that he sounded like he was ‘burping’ whilst hitting the low notes!!

Character Quote : ” I  see bad things arising the crowd crown him king which the Romans would ban. I see blood and destruction our elimination because of one man!”

Simon : Larry Marshall or Tony Vincent


I like Tony Vincent as he brings a bit of a pop edge to the show. He comes over as being young and courageous. Both are great though!

Character Quote :  “Christ what more do you need to convince you that you’ve made it and your easily as strong as the fills from Rome who rave our country and have terrorized our people for so long”

Judas : Carl Anderson or Jerome Pradon?

Many have said Carl Anderson is the best, he does show more empathy towards Jesus whilst Jerome Pradon portrays the character Judas as being very bitter and quite mocking towards Jesus. Both are excellent though. Carl Anderson has a wonderful rock and roll voice. Judas is the compelling character and is the only apostle who doesn’t seem to be in a daze. Judas takes a back seat from the other apostles . I love his version of “Damned for all time” when he turns Jesus in to the apostles as he seems genuinely scared by his brash decision  and he cannot live with what he has done “I have been spattered with innocent blood I should be dragged through the slime and the mud”

Character Quote : ” Listen Jesus I don’t like what I see all I ask is that you listen to me and remember I’ve been your right hand man all along”

Peter : Paul Thomas or Cavin Cornwall

I feel Cavin Cornwall from the 2000 version has the better voice out of the two. His beautiful duet with Renee Castle of “Could we start again please” wins hands down for me. The 1973 version doesn’t even come close! Paul Thomas is just ok and doesn’t put nearly enough passion for my liking into the portrayal of his character.

Character quote : “I think you’ve made you’re point now. You’ve even gone a bit to far to get your message home”

Mary Magdeline : Yvonne Elliman or Renee Castle? 

I like both as they are both very original and suited to the time period in which the film was made.

Character quote : “He’s a man he’s just a man and I’ve had so many men before in very many ways”

Conclusions

Well that’s my opinion of the two films after writing this blog post. I think I like both versions almost equally as much as they each have their strengths and weaknesses. Apparently there is a new film in production due to be released in 2014  and rumour has it that Nicole Sherzinger is playing Mary! I’m intrigued to see what it will be like. Then maybe I could write a comparison of all three!!

How I Went From Very Shy to Less Shy


* I have changed any names mentioned in this blog post.

As a young child I was quite confident as I spent a fair bit of time with other children at a pre-school age. In primary school I was happy and had lots of friends up to year 2. I had problems in that year which I have already written a blog about ( year 2- the worst school year of my life) There were also a few bullying incidents at school which really damaged my self-esteem especially in year 8, but I won’t go into them as I don’t want this blog post to turn into a sob story! As they say in the long run it makes you a stronger person. I was told by “An Angel Lady” a couple of years ago that I have lots of inner strength, so that’s a good thing!

I made a best friend *Amy*  who remained to be so from year 2 to year 9 in school. We were close .Things went wrong when she made friends with another crowd. I could feel our friendship falling apart and finally we had a massive argument. She then ditched me for the other group and I made new friends. I feel that this damaged my self esteem, it was quite hard at first but I got over it fairly quickly. Her behavior completely changed, like she was trying to be someone that she wasn’t and to be honest she became quite self-centered and cocky. I’m thankful that I made new friends really as I prefer being the person that I have become through the other people. *Amy’s*  friendship with the other group lasted for about a year..then they had a massive fallout ditching her. People asked me was I glad that it had happened to her as she’d had a taste of her own medicine but I said no, I felt sorry for her as its horrible when you feel that you have no-one!

I made another good friend in that year group as she was in most of my lessons. *Jane* is one of my close friends still, she’s really shy but lovely. My new group of friends at home were great and they have continued to be there for me. I love meeting up with them when I’m back from university.

Girls can be so bitchy and critical of each other. In my opinion in my school there were different categories of people. There were the popular crowd who were mostly self obsessed and very critical of less popular people, there were the people that fitted in and had a good group of friends, shy people who most people liked with smaller groups of friends (that was me) and the people that most people disliked and classed as “freaks” which was really harsh.

I remember also at school that teachers would always put in my ROA’s (Record of Achievement) that I basically needed to talk more but they’d say “Sophie needs to contribute more to class discussions” I did get much better at doing so as I moved up the school years…I really can’t help being quite quiet!!

I think my confidence was boosted when I got the job in the local hotel that I used to work at as I was working alongside adults and I was only 16 when I started. I have to say that I was probably one of the quietest members of staff there though!! I met some lovely people through that job but it helped to improve my people skills. I also learnt methods of confidence and better strategies to deal with my poor memory from a professional which helped to boost my self esteem.

Going to university has done me the world of good socially. At first I was terrified as I was scared that I’d find it really hard to make friends. Everyone was in the same boat, we just had to go for it! Now I have the most amazing group of friends and although some of us don’t live together anymore we make a point of seeing each other at least once a week. I love our nights out, we pretty much always have an amazing time! When I’m with them I can just be myself and no-one judges me, they accept me ditzyness and all ! (I can be quite scatterbrained at times!!) I also feel that my Nursing course has given me confidence, although I still find it very challenging!

In the future I hope to become more confident, but I realise that  it will take time. As they say confidence comes with experience!

Jane Eyre 2006…A review


Jane Eyre is a classic piece of literature written in 1847 by Charlotte Bronte. Over the years it has been made into many film adaptions, too many in my opinion. My favourite has to be the 2006 BBC adaptation, even though people feel that the 1983 version starring Zelah Clarke and Timothy Dalton is closer to the book I find the acting too wooden and feel that the script follows the book over religiously.

In the beginning of the film I feel that Jane’s childhood is slightly rushed although not like the 1996 William Hurt and Charlotte Gainsberg version which in my opinion is awful as an adaption and skims through the story in a ridiculous 1hr40 minutes. I feel that for any version of this novel to stand a chance of being decent it should be around 4 hours long which this series is.

The series was criticised somewhat as it was thought that Toby Stephens was too attractive to play Mr Rochester as in the novel the character is described as ” with his broad and jetty eyebrows; his square forehead, made squarer by the horizontal sweep of his black hair. I recognised his decisive nose, more remarkable for character than beauty; his full nostrils, denoting, I thought, choler; his grim mouth, chin, and jaw—yes, all three were very grim, and no mistake. His shape, now divested of cloak, I perceived harmonised in squareness with his physiognomy” (chapter 13)… not attractive. However, I think he is a fantastic actor and does have a slightly rugged look unlike Timothy Dalton in the 1983 version who is too clean-cut looking for the role as well as having an unusual accent as he is clearly trying to hide his Welsh accent.

The Cast

Ruth Wilson stars as the wise heroine Jane Eyre in this version and was 24 years old  newly graduated from acting school. I got a bit of a surprise when I first saw her picture as she has unusual features however this doesn’t particularly matter as Jane is not meant to be pretty. Her acting is fantastic and full of emotion. People felt that this 2006 version was the most controversial as there is more of a spark between Ruth Wilson (Jane) and Toby Stephens (Mr Rochester) than in any other film made.

Toby Stephens who plays Mr Rochester is the son of acting legend Dame Maggie Smith and had taken roles previously in many tv series and James Bond film “Die another day”  His career began in theatre as he worked for the Royal Shakespeare company making him a thespian actor. There is something very charming about him as an actor making him my favorite ever Rochester.

I find the young Jane slightly annoying as the young Jane, I feel in places she over acts however, she must have done something right as now she is a respectable actress starring in “The Chronicles of Narnia” Other famous faces are amongst the cast including the well-known Pam Ferris (Grace Poole) and Tara Fitzgerald (Mrs Reed)

Christina Cole ( Blanche Ingram) is amazing and does a perfect “ice queen”  portrayal of the haughty and spoilt Blanche who only wishes to marry Rochester for his vast riches. She is beautiful yet incredibly selfish and belittles Jane stating in a conversation how awful she thinks governesses are which is meant purposefully for Jane to overhear. I love the scene where Rochester confronts Ingram when she enters his smoking room with the statement “what do you really want Blanche?” which belittles Blanche and puts her in her place.

The Plot…A brief overview

The story begins with Jane as a young orphan approximately age 10. She is orphaned and lives with her Aunt Reed at Gateshead who resents her because when her husband was dying he asked to see Jane rather than his old children on his death-bed. Jane is treated unfairly and isolated from the family abusing her physically and emotionally. Mrs Reed dotes on her spoilt children John, Eliza and Georgiana who have also been turned against Jane and she is treated as an outcast/ servant.

Things worsen and Jane is sent away to boarding school…Mr Brocklehurst’s institution. He has a heart of stone and the girls are treated appallingly, many don’t survive due to the terrible living conditions and spread of disease. Jane is humiliated in front of her class immediately and branded as a liar. One shows her kindness, Helen Burns who becomes a true friend however tragedy strikes soon after.

Jane as a young woman progresses as a teacher continuing to work at Lowood but applies for a governess post at Thornfield Hall in Yorkshire. After being accepted she is assigned to look after  Adele the young French ward of the Master of the house Mr Rochester. Adele is fairly spoilt but kind and under Jane’s supervision she flourishes as a student, after a few months Jane feels at home. After a strange beginning between the two characters she finds a friend in Mr Rochester, their relationship blossoms through the odd occurrences at Thornfield Hall , she is later to discover he has a haunting secret which has the potential to ruin both of their futures.

Why watch the 2006 version over the many others?

I adore the natural chemistry between Rochester and Jane which comes over as very natural even though there is a 13 year age gap between the actors.  There are some interesting changes which had never been done before in any other version. It shows more detail to Rochester’s past going back in time showing him . I feel the 2006 version is very different to others as it goes more into depth showing “flashbacks” of Rochester as a young man meeting the charming yet cruel mother of his ward Adele, Celine Varens a mistress of his whilst he was in Paris and other previous events in his life.

The scene under the tree where Jane opens her heart and confesses her love for Mr Rochester is breathtaking. The first time I watched it I was nearly moved to tears. The scenery is also lovely filmed in  Derbyshire and the Peak District and is complimented by a pretty music score in the background.

I have viewed 3 other versions of Jane Eyre. The 1983 version starring Zelah Clarke and Timothy Dalton is true to the book but as said before, I dislike the acting style and the cinematography is quite typical of the 1970’s/1980’s…done in a ‘play style’ similar to the popular series Upstairs Downstairs and the ending is very abrupt. The 1996 version starring William Hurt and Charlotte Gainsbourg is in my opinion awful…and as said before far to short in length. I felt that it skimmed through the whole story without any depth or time for relationships to grow between the characters. William Hurt was far too old to play Mr Rochester at the age of 46 when the actors chosen are normally in their mid 30’s. The ending is ridiculous, it seems that Rochester is blind one minute and his sight is returned the next. The acting is poor, I find Charlotte Gainsbourg to be a very weak actress and I didn’t feel that there was any chemistry between her and William Hurt. The 1997 Samantha Morton and Ciaran Hinds version is quite good although it does miss some important parts out such as when Jane returns to visit her dying Aunt  however the ending is beautiful.

I was annoyed to find that there was a 2011 film version to be released this year as my favourite version was only made 5 years ago I think it was far too soon to make another and at only 2 hours and 30 minutes long too short to portray the story and characters properly. It stars Mia Wasikowska who played Alice in Wonderland and Michael Fassbender , receiving very mixed reviews. Due to its originality Jane Eyre 2006 will always be my favourite.