Venue: York Theatre Royal
Dates: Until November 20th 2021
Review by: Julia Pattison
Emma Rice, founder of Wise Children, artistic director and writer has breathed new life into Emily Bronte’s classic novel, Wuthering Heights, partnering this time with the National Theatre, Bristol Vic and York Theatre Royal.
What a privilege it was to experience this innovative and compelling production on Press Night.
“I believe that Emily Bronte is an overlooked comic genius… it wasn’t difficult to bring fun to this adaptation it’s all there in the text,” said Emma Rice, whose passion for the text and visual flair has helped to bring this production to new heights.
I’d studied Wuthering Heights for English O Level many moons ago; watching this Gothic classic being given Rice’s individual magic touch “I Got it“ in a way I’d never done while studying the text at school.
“I loved the way the show cast a new 21st Century light on the book and her inspired casting of rock star Lucy McCormick as troubled Cathy.
Casting Ash Hunter in the role of Heathcliff was also inspired, he commanded the space whenever he appeared; a living example of what can happen to a soul when treated cruelly, and the tragic results.
Tama Phethean showed his versatility in his roles of brutish Hindley, and later, hurt Hareton Earnshaw, while Sam Archer was a delight as the lolloping Lockwood, as well as being just as convincing playing weak Edgar Linton.
Such powerful passion was portrayed throughout the play, heightened by the ‘Moors’, led by the charismatic Nandhi Bhebe acting as a chorus, a sinister and brooding presence; stunning set and costume design, and for me the icing on the cake, an amazing live band whose music was an integral part of the play.
There was lots of the promised comedy too, with Katy Owen’s stealing the show with her hilarious portrayal of spoilt Little Linton, as well as playing his mother, Isabella Linton.
Three hours just flew, and despite all the angst, we had a soothing, heartfelt happy ending, a beacon of hope to cling to, that Love Springs Eternal despite all the odds against.