Radio review: Jane Eyre and The Moth

Nuala McCann

Jane Eyre Radio 4

The Moth Radio 4 Extra

Readers I know fall into two categories – those who love Wuthering Heights and those who love Jane Eyre.

What is it with Heathcliff, Cathy and all that mad running about on the moors and haunting people at windows? I never got it.

Give me gutsy little plain Jane who has mettle and attitude and falls for a damaged brute of a man.

“Reader, I married him,” has to be one of the great lines in literature.

Having first read Jane under the blankets after lights out at home when I was about 13, this radio dramatisation was a nostalgic return – a memory jogger, spine tingling, rollicking and chilling – complete with that strange servant Grace Poole and the secret mad woman lurking about in the Rochesters' attic.

The Moth started out as an intimate gathering of friends on a porch in Georgia where moths would flutter in through a hole in the screen. It quickly grew but the idea is the same... true stories ...funny stories, poignant stories, heart breaking stories from life.

“Mother, mommy, mama, mum” was an offering for last Sunday, Mother's Day.

In the first story, actor and writer Molly Ringwald finds herself in the principal's office with her daughter. Molly had never in her life been into the principal's office ... well, only when she was acting in a movie.

The principal said she was in danger of being seen as a bully. Her parents are completely bewildered.

“I'd basically made a career out of being the girl who stood up to bullies in movies,” said Molly. It was a long learning curve but things turned out well.

Perhaps the most heart rending was Kate Tellers' story of facing her mother's death.

It was funny and tender. As a little girl she loved her parents so much she called her goldfish Paul and Lisa after them.

The story of her mother's dying and of the “great big hole” that she had to face is told candidly with moments of real humour and moments of deep love.

She drinks in the memories of her mother's full laugh – head back, full view of the cavities in her teeth.

And then the day that she has been afraid of for 10 years arrives.

And when her mother slips away, she goes for the bottle of limoncello, “The one that my mother takes out for special occasions ... I figure this one counts.”

She waits for that big gut punch to hit her, but instead she just feels enveloped in sorrow.

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