The Letters of Jane Austen @ The Space, Surgeons Hall
Much loved author not as exciting as own novels shock
A classical subject matter is given a somewhat classical approach as the audience is presented with two female performers reading the letters of Jane Austen to create a biographical interpretation. Other than trying to modernise or undertake a contemporary tact, Uncontained Arts focus on the traditional nature of Jane Austen.
The letters themselves do not exactly offer an insight to the author. Matter of fact gossip and general busy body talk is the main content of the text and the narrative of the performance. The readings are delivered by two enthusiastic actresses who both take on the same facets of Austen's personality. Although this could be conceived as one dimensional, the to and fro between the performers creates an atmosphere that suits the style of Austen.
The readings from the letters are interspersed with songs, which are much needed relief from the somewhat laborious dictation. The songs are appropriate within the context of the performance, but do little to drive the story forward.
Overall The Letters of Jane Austen is a faithful interpretation of a much loved author. However the story that is being conveyed is somewhat lost along the way and the performance in itself offered little variety to keep the audience fully engaged.