Bravely abstract take on the nineteenth century classic at Edinburgh Festival Fringe
This article is from 2014.
This is not a faithful theatre adaption of Emily Brontë’s classic: from the beginning the all-male cast announce they will be playing various characters from the novel as well as themselves, taking Heathcliff’s temperamental disposition as the driving force behind a rollercoaster of a play exploring the male psyche.
Directed by Peter McMaster, who also plays Nelly and himself, Wuthering Heights is an undoubtedly brave piece of theatre. Taking on the nineteenth century classic and injecting synchronised dancing to Kate Bush, Catherine and Heathcliff’s love from the perspective of a horse and a man in drag (who derobes and wrestles naked) make this an oblique look at a familiar tale.
At times cracks in the whirlwind performance surface – audible count-ins to dance moves, a genuine concern that the horse may collapse – and it becomes hard not to want of a little more of Brontë’s story as a reference point.
But the sheer commitment of the cast to their roles ensures the theatre is filled with an abundance of the Byronic hero’s famous passion. The answer to the blurb’s question, ‘almost 200 years after the book was published, are the aspirations of men very different now?’ is clear, and the point well made.
Summerhall, run ended.