THIS adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's novel was first performed in 1956, and perhaps it could do with updating.

I made sure I sat near a fire exit since much of the second half of the plot hinges on the madwoman burning down the house, but the challenge was overcome by removing some of the staircase and mentioning that the West Wing was no more.

The cast is one of contrasts; Bruce Montague as lawyer Briggs is relaxed, professional and utterly convincing. Elliot James as Rochester's brother-in-law Mason, isn't. Young Melissa Taylor is very confident in her role as Adele, but needs to work on her voice projection.

The trouble with trying to produce a play from a well-loved book is that everyone has their own ideas as to what the characters are like. Sarah Mowat as Jane is very satisfactory, with her no-nonsense confidence covering her apprehension at taking up her first post on leaving Lowood School. Kindly housekeeper Mrs Fairfax, played by Katie Evans, is also bang on target but former Emmerdale actor Peter Amory falls short as Rochester. Far from being dark, brooding and charismatic, he comes over as grumpy and petulant, especially during the reconciliation scene towards the end. Although the play is melodramatic it teeters on the edge of farce as Rochester turns away from Jane's embrace, nobly vowing she must leave him to his blindness and disfigurement, and marry the young missionary who has proposed to her. That's what I'd do, Jane, if I were you.

Runs until Saturday. Box Office: (01325) 486555.

Published: 16/06/2005