Jane Eyre 

Three stars
Footlite Musicals;
directed by R. Brian Noffke

Paul Gordon and John Caird’s musical adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre goes too far to include every plot twist from Bronte’s morally charged gothic romance. Several singing narrators usher us from Jane’s cruel childhood home, to her prison-like orphanage, over the moors to the mysterious Thornfield Hall and on and on. With a three-hour run time, they can fit it all in, but what fun is it if Jane’s pained longing for her charismatic boss is just one more thing to fit in? The lyrics are more expository than enlightening, the melodies only occasionally moving. Still, there are many delights to be found in R. Brian Noffke’s visually restrained production. Brenna Campbell’s crystal clear voice matches Jane’s unflinching honesty and righteousness. While Tim Spradlin is more brat than brooding hero, he lends to Rochester a powerful tenor. The excellent supporting cast includes Shari Raper as Helen, Jane’s sweet-voiced moral compass; Jeremy Brimm as Jane’s second suitor; and Kathleen Clarke-Horrigan, whose near deaf housekeeper provides comic relief from the much-sung-about “secrets of the house.” The young Maggie Williams and Claire Cassidy provide wonderful contrast as the defiant young Jane and the perpetually delighted Adele. As gold-digger Blanche, Farrah Westerfield dances up and down the musical staff in a humorous rapture about Rochester’s riches. Unfortunately, this string of “best of” moments can’t compare with the novelist’s graceful layering of emotion and event, of passion and suspense. Through March 22; 317-926-6630.

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