Shared Experience has been on the road for well over two decades, bringing its intense interpretations of classic plays and adaptations of major novels (including Anna Karenina, The Mill on the Floss and War and Peace) to a wide and appreciative audience.
With its hallmark combination of simple staging and emotionally charged physicality, the once distinctive style hasn’t changed much over the years.
The current venture (directed by her co-artistic director Nancy Meckler) revisits Polly Teale’s 2005 account of the Brontë sisters, lacing biographical detail and invented dialogue with integrated extracts from their work.
Although the Victorian siblings spent most of their lives isolated by the Yorkshire moors, their well-educated imaginations ran free, unfettered by conventional restraints or their circumscribed existence, to produce a clutch of famous novels, including Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
The cast performs with commitment to bring a bygone era to life, though it helps if you have at least a passing acquaintance with some of the Brontës’ works as their fictional characters materialise like persistent alter egos, revealing the suppressed side of their natures.
And Teale does a decent (if slightly repetitive job) of pointing up the differences between the young women – Emily, the most reclusive, bound to the wildness of the moors, Anne (the least famous of the three and here the least rounded) and determined, jealous Charlotte – as they cope with rejection after rejection from various publishers and with the shameful behaviour of their gifted but erratic brother Branwell whose addiction to alcohol led him to an early grave.
Interesting, but not exactly vintage Shared Experience.
Tricycle, Kilburn High Road, NW6 7JR
020 7328 1000
Til 30th April
£12 – £22
Then from May 10–14
Richmond Theatre, The Green, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 1QJ
0844 871 7627
£17.50 (£14.50 concession)
£30.50 (premium seats)
– Louise Kingsley