Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre To Feb. 1 Tickets: $25-$80 at www.mtc.mb.ca
out of five if Jane and Rochester do not create some palpable heat from their chalkand-cheese courtship. The attraction can be hard to detect at first as their conversations are laced with swirling undercurrents of possibility. Her grave features soon come alive in his presence, while his dark moods are lifted by her into a teasing playfulness. The pale, elfin Jennifer Dzialoszynski radiates an underdog quality that makes viewers pull for her to succeed in her quest to show that a woman of modest looks can be just as compelling as a beautiful one. She plays her starchy and stoic, dressed in grey throughout — a plain Jane to the end. In Jane’s bid for self-preservation, Dzialoszynski reveals the restless intelligence and no-nonsense fortitude that hides underneath her stiff upper lip. Campbell is swoon-worthy enough, thanks to his mutton-chop magnetism, but more importantly, he captures Rochester’s moodiness. That mercurial nature keeps the audience wondering whether he will or won’t make a move on Jane, which the book first revealed over 150 years ago. The work of the supporting cast, mostly locals, is excellent, taking on up to eight roles that often require quick costume changes backstage. Sometimes there is no time — the mail mistress, played to full comic impact by Gord Tanner, can be seen to be sporting side whiskers under her bonnet. Jeremy Walmsley shows impressive range from steed to nasty John Reed. Miriam Smith’s wide spectrum of characters include saltof-the-earth housekeeper Mrs. Fairfax and the evil-stepmother-like aunt Mrs. Reed. Charlene Van Buekenhout is responsible for portraying a book full of characters herself, every one is distinct and detailed. Julia Course, an import making her RMTC debut, does fine work as Rochester’s love interest Blanche, as well as “the strange, unearthly thing” Bertha. At two hours of playing time with an intermission, purists will lament, if not wail, at the lines and scenes dropped from the beloved book, but Beckman and Flye succeed in wringing most of the passion, fury and pain out of Jane Eyre.
Tim Campbell as Rochester and Jennifer Dzialoszynski as Jane.