The script, written by Andrew Sheridan and directed by Bryony Shanahan, was moving and poetic and showed the hopelessness of hurting the ones you love most. The play also conveyed how Bronte’s words, may have been written in 1846, but are still just as relevant to us today.
One of the things I enjoyed most in this play was the chemistry and relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff. When watching the two characters they clearly portrayed the adolescent involved in their love. The relationship felt genuine and believable throughout. Furthermore, Alex Austin fully took on the role of Heathcliff portraying all of his raw, naive and sometimes manipulative traits that the character is known for. I also liked how he made it clear that Heathcliff acts on instinct causing him to be reckless. Rakhee Sharma (Cathy) convincingly showed the growth in her character’s age and excelled in playing Cathy’s younger self. She also clearly established how Cathy is slowly being suffocated as she gets older, because she has to live with choices that she made in the past that she now regrets.
Linking to this I enjoyed Rhiannon Clements portrayal of Isabella as she showed her to be innocent and light-hearted which was emphasised through her more comedic lines.
I do think though that the dynamics between her and Heathcliff should have shown Isabella to be more powerless, as Heathcliff is such a dominant character compared to her.
The design in the play done by Cécile Trémolières helped with transporting you to the 18th century moorland, through her use of small ‘grass’ mounds, shrubs and tree that splayed up the theatre walls and created an ominous shadow which sheltered the audience and drew them in. I thought that overall it worked well. The costumes, that also reflected the era, constantly changed to show the growth of the characters and the dull, muted tones helped cast a murky and melancholy feel upon the stage.
The atmospheric soundtrack that was performed live on stage (by Sophie Galpin and Becky Wilkie) fully captured the madness in the scenes unfolding and helped heighten the tension throughout. I especially liked the use of drumbeats which acted like heartbeats slowly getting faster and faster as the conflict went on.
As a whole watching the show was very enjoyable although I would advise viewer discretion as the play includes references to mental illness and mild nudity. I would recommend you see the show. I found the story captivating throughout, and feel that the play stays true to the book and portrays Emily Bronte’s messages of childhood, nature and love clearly throughout.
This show gets:
Photo Credit: Helen Murray