Friday, January 27

Jane Hair: The Brontes Restyled – Hope Mill Theatre

A salon in the village of Haworth, West Yorkshire is an unlikely location for a play to be set. However, we soon meet the stylists; Emily, Charlotte and Anne and finally it all becomes clear. This is a modern day look at the Bronte sisters written by Bradford lasses Kirsty Smith and Kat Rose-Martin.

From the get go the characters are instantly likeable and have their own unique personalities. However, before going on with the review I must state on the night I watched the production the actor who plays Charlotte was isolating due to Covid-19. However, instead of cancelling the performance the ladies ploughed on and the stage manager stepped up to read the role of Charlotte, and she more than delivered.

The action really starts when a post appears online from a ‘Lizzie G’ (any guesses to who that could be?) who has exposed them as the writers behind the name of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. After going into immediate panic, we see each of the girls come to terms with the fact they should be proud of their writing and the fact they’re female is irrelevant.

Setting this production in the modern day really is an easier sell to audiences who may not be familiar with the Bronte sisters. However, some of the keener fans will not be disappointed as some of the throw away lines are clearly intended as jokes – I must admit personally I wasn’t hugely clued up on the sisters’ life, so some of them went over my head.

All in all, this play is very heart-warming and personally I felt it was more of a statement than a story. The theme of sisterhood is strong and really made me think if they didn’t have each other would we ever have been gifted Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre.

Jane Hair is performing until 7th April at 7.30pm at Hope Mill Theatre. These are the final dates of its current tour. You can find more details about the production and book tickets at https://hopemilltheatre.co.uk/events/jane-hair-the-brontes-restyled

Reviewer: Brian Madden

Reviewed: 5th April 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★

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