Monday, April 12, 2010

Wuthering Heights

A night out at the theatre is always a treat and Dunedin's Fortune Theatre is always something to look forward to regardless of the play. Yes, I am such a shallow theatre goer that I will love it because they serve gourmet ice-cream at half time and I am a sucker for the Ginger Snap flavour.

On Saturday night I had the pleasure of attending the opening night of the Fortune's production of Wuthering Heights, the stage adaptation of Emily Bronte's dark and brooding novel set on the Yorkshire moors. I studied Wuthering Heights at high school and was blessed with an English teacher who brought it to life, so being fully aware of the complexities of it and the sheer length, I was curious to see how a stage adaptation would stack up.

I am pleased to say I loved it. Of course it was never going to be a laugh a minute, although there were moments of humour, but it was dramatic and it carried the essence of the obsessions and revenge inflicted upon the Earnshaws and the Lintons. The five actors who portrayed all of the roles were fabulous and I think they successfully achieved the right mood considering the play clips along at a rapid pace. The set was angular and spare with the background soundtrack of wild wind and lighting providing the ambiance of the moors. They also did some rather original things with books.

Of course any version of Wuthering Heights lives or dies on the abilities of the actors playing Heathcliff and Catherine. Tim Foley's Heathcliffe was at times charming, at times passionate and at times tortured and cruel. He was also damned dishy. Anna Henare's Catherine was beautiful and spirited and spoilt and destructively willful. The supporting cast provided a solid frame for their roller coaster ride.

I went along not quite sure what to expect and came away feeling entertained and satisfied. It was a great night out.

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