The Wellingtonista

Random stuff about Wellington since 2005

Review: Miss Bronte

by librarykris on February 28, 2014 in Theatre

As we walk into the theatre a woman sits on stage frantically writing in a tiny book. She wears a plain blue dress made out of different patterned fabrics. Her hair is parted in the middle and tightly pulled back. Every so often she pauses, looks into the distance, then scribbles some more. The furniture is sparse – a writing desk, a table, a chair. A fireplace is in the background with books on shelves on either side. Four tiny paintings complete the picture of a study belonging to a family of modest means. The woman is Charlotte Bronte.

Over the next 75 minutes Charlotte tells us the story of her life – her family, her sisters, her writing, her ambition.  At least 75% of the script comes from her letters and novels. This makes the frustration and sorrow expressed all the more poignant.

Mel Dodge whirls around the stage through the production. Almost constantly in motion it is a nice way of showing the character’s desire for movement while directly relating to the fact that Bronte and her sisters used to get so worked up during their writing sessions that they would stride around the table. Dodge is particularly affecting during the scenes where she’s still, when she is playing grief and sadness. Her lower lip trembles, and tears well up in her eyes. I absolutely believe the truth of her performance in those moments. I want to have more time to be affected by it.

A strong performance based on a strong script.

Paul Daniggelis March 2, 2014 at 5:57 am

You make Charlotte sound . . . precious . . . which of course she is.

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