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The ensemble of Jane Eyre on tour (Photo: Brinkhoff/Moegenburg)

The ensemble of Jane Eyre on tour (Photo: Brinkhoff/Moegenburg)

Playlists: Cast & band of Jane Eyre

First Published 10 October 2017, Last Updated 5 February 2018

The National Theatre are currently presenting Jane Eyre in uniquely acclaimed fashion, with Sally Cookson’s popular adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece set to a wide range of musical arrangements – including a surprising cover version or two.

But what do the cast and band members themselves listen to to get into performance mode? We posed our Playlists challenge to Melanie Marshall, the superb vocalist who plays Bertha in the show, and the band behind the music: Matt, Alex and Dave (who themselves have their own band).

Based on everything from first public performances to guilty pleasures, their stories, told through music as like Jane Eyre’s, are fascinating.

To join in:

1. Plug in your headphones.
2. Open up Spotify, log in and minimise the application.
3. Scroll down the page below and click the play button for each song to get a sense of the song!

Jane Eyre plays at the National Theatre until 21 October. Book your tickets via the National Theatre website.

Which song…

… are you listening to a lot at the moment?

Melanie Marshall: Jesseye Norman singing The Four Last Songs by Strauss … utterly sublime.  Reminds me of great times at the Royal College of Music.

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Branwell (Matt or Alex or Dave from The Jane Eyre Band): VULFPECK! Anything by that retro funk band from LA. We also have a tour Spotify playlist which you can find on our Twitter page!

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… reminds you of growing up?

Melanie Marshall: Every Sunday after Church my Dad would play either Negro Spirituals by Paul Robeson or Mahalia Jackson, or any songs by Harry Belafonte…without fail!

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Branwell, Matt: Billy Joel, Vienna. It’s less about growing up and not rushing towards life’s ambitions.

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… did you first perform in public?

Melanie Marshall: Bless This House by M Brahe. I was 6 years old…I wasn’t nervous and decided there and then that I wanted to sing for a living! My brother Wayne played for me on the piano. He was 7.

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Branwell, Alex: Truly, Madly, Deeply by Savage Garden in my year 5 talent competition. AND I WON!

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… would best help you get into character in Jane Eyre?

Melanie Marshall: The song Why We Sing by the American Gospel artist Kirk Franklin. Lyrics of truth!

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Branwell: For it’s multi-layered percussion, Tuneyard’s Water Fountain.

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… makes you the happiest?

Melanie Marshall: Anything uplifting that is on my iTunes! Be it Classical, Jazz, Gospel, Pop, Soul … Stevie Wonder, Bach, Schumann, Faure, Jill Scott …

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Branwell: Na Na Na by Cory Henry and The Planets by Holst.

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&

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… is your guilty pleasure?

Melanie Marshall: Reasons by Earth Wind and Fire, Total Praise by Richard Smallwood and Water No Get Enemy by Fela Kuti.

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&

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&

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Branwell, Matt & Alex: Toxic – Britney Spears. (Dave shakes his head in disbelief).
Branwell, Dave: Kiss From a Rose – Seal. Nothing guilty about that pleasure.

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&

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… reminds you of auditions?

Melanie Marshall: Can’t Help Loving That Man Of Mine for my first professional job, Carmen Jones.

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Branwell, Dave: I sung Let’s Get In On for a University play audition.
Branwell, Matt: Iron, by Woodkid.

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&

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… would your character want played at their wedding?

Melanie Marshall: At Last by Warren and Gordon … recorded by Etta James in 1960.

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Branwell, Dave: We have minor roles in the show along with all our music! Matt plays the priest in the show so he’d choose Diana Ross and Stop in The Name of Love. Dave plays a coachman (who gets married) and his would be I’ve Been Everywhere, Johnny Cash.

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… makes you feel bold and/or inspired?

Melanie Marshall: My Sister Louise’s two solo albums Wait for You and Beautiful inspire me to pull my finger out and create my own material!

Branwell: There’s a charity called Finding Rhythms who make albums of music with prisoners around the UK. It’s so inspiring hearing what they make. A personal favourite is this one by prisoners at Hemel Hampstead…

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… makes you feel bold and/or inspired?

Melanie Marshall: Crazy in the 2nd Act… watching for the audience reaction as they think about and hear the arrangement…. Is it or isn’t it ….?!!

Branwell: We have a couple of covers in the show we love playing, along with some big ‘penny-drop’ moments. But naming them would give the game away!

Jane Eyre plays at the National Theatre until 21 October. Book your tickets via the National Theatre website.

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