Review: Jane Austen At Home
Tuesday 24th January 2017, Adderley
Devised by Stephen Siddall and acted by Emerald O’Hanrahan
This presentation of Jane Austen and her work was very interesting and original on many levels.
Many extracts of the author’s books, letters and stories were read and acted out by a single actress who portrayed the emotions of Austen very believably. The reader jumped from stories to letters and extracts from The History of England [part of Austen’s juvenilia] with such facility and vivacity that it kept everyone focused on the acting and interested in the presentation. Many of us easily recognised the extracts from the novels – I had read Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility – and it was with great interest that we observed how the actress played them, acting them often with a different view from our own. As the presentation continued and more personal pieces were presented (such as letters), we began to appreciate Jane Austen’s emotions. We learned more about her life, her personality, and her persistent use of irony – as recognisable as her witty and perspicuous style of writing. I didn’t expect this presentation to be acted and was positively surprised by the amazing skill of Emerald O’Hanrahan who played Jane Austen. Live flute and harp music of the period, performed by Alexandra Dunlop (MO Re) and Darcey Goble (MM Re), complemented the performance excellently, and Adderley was the ideal setting.
French Exchange student, MM L6