Wuthering Heights at Maddermarket Theatre was bold, imaginative and creative.
The reworking focussed on the first part of Emily Bronte’s famous novel and established a fantastic and deeply intense story and connection between Heathcliff and Cathy.
One really successful element of the play was the wardrobe and costume and the set design. The designs were classic and really felt realistic to the setting of the novel. Though the play did modernise elements of the original story with modern music, I liked that they retained the traditional costumes as this helped make the story come alive for me. Amanda Greenway had clearly done research into this and planned the costume and colour pallet very precisely. Set design, by Sabrina Poole and Jez Pike, was unique and bold and I loved how creative they were with the staging. Though there was not a lot of props and items used, they were cleverly chosen to fill the space and give the illusion of the setting very effectively.
If I had to question a decision, it would be that to add loud, modern music across parts of the play. Though sometimes it was effective, on the whole it felt like a cheap trick to try and heighten the drama in the scenes and could have benefited from either being classical music, or more carefully chosen in specific moments. I did like the originality and boldness from the director, Sabrina Poole, to add it in, however I think it could have been tweaked to make it even more effective for audience members and could have avoided making it appear cliche.
Poole also decided to add an emphasis on the ghost element of the novel and really played up to this. Though I personally felt it a little overplayed at times, such as with the deaths of minor characters, and underplayed at times, such as when there wasn’t as much as an emphasis on this theme with more major characters, I again liked the bold decision and that Poole wanted to experiment with an interesting part of Bronte’s writing.
The cast members have to be commended for their performances, as each member acted with professionalism and passion. For me there were three standout performances. Though Ashden Woodrow, playing Isabella, was not on the stage for very long compared to other characters in the play, I felt like her performance was one of the most engaging. From her facial expressions to body language, she was Isabella and she communicated Isabella’s thoughts and feelings extremely well. Another standout performance was Miles Lukoszevieze, playing Hindley. His performance was funny and made me sit up and listen when he was on stage. He was confident and in control and I loved the way he portrayed Hindley. Lastly, Michelle Campbell-Jones, playing Nelly, did fantastically. She was on stage for nearly all of the duration of the play and acted with professionalism and I loved the way she showed the evolution of her character. Other performances I enjoyed were that of Jose Tarouca, playing Heathcliff, and Christina Clarke. Tarouca was very emotive in his body language and he acted best in the darker scenes with Isabella. Clarke was passionate and it was clear she had worked so hard on her character and commitment to the role.
The play cut off before delving into the relationships between Hearton, Cathy and Linton and those dynamics, which did leave me wanting more. However the cut off did make sense within the context of the play but I would like to see it developed into a part 2.
Overall the play was creative and bold and a very interesting viewing for Bronte fans.