Wuthering Heights comes to Jesmond Dene
Heartbreak productions bring Wuthering Heights to Jesmond Dene this glorious summer weekend. Its dark brooding tale of love, cruelty and revenge arrive for the end of the Newcastle season.
Wuthering Heights is a very long book, and the story of Cathy and Heathcliff really only takes up half of it. The other half of this complex drama is about the two lover’s separation and the fate of their offspring.
Wuthering Heights – a dark dramatic tale
Emily Bronte wasn’t a very happy woman and Wuthering Heights isn’t exactly happy story. But the author did believe in the power of passion. Even if it was tragically doomed by the circumstances of station and fortune.
Ben Thorne, a Heartbreak Production regular plays the brooding Heathcliff who loves Cathy with all his soul. He is devastated by her marriage to Edgar Linton. This is perfect casting as Ben is great at portraying troubled characters who are at odds with the society around them.
Wuthering Heights meets the ghost hunters
Samantha Dart is accomplished as the medium who channels the spirit of Cathy during a seance. She is also Nelly the maid, who acts as the narrator. Nelly explains about the passage of time and the untimely deaths of a number of characters. She witnesses the descent of a desperate Heathcliff into cruelty and emotional agony. Nelly’s voice is the glue that keeps the story together for us as it is quite a rambling affair in the original novel.
As usual with a Heartbreak Productions show, the cast are lively, engaging and versatile. They work hard at drawing the audience into the experience and are pretty much always successful. Sometimes they do have competition though. Noisy generators, police helicopters and passing canines on an evening walk can all cause havoc during live shows! The framing device uses a Victorian ghost hunter theme. They are attending a seance and witness the tortured spirit of Cathy manifest itself in the opening scene.
Wuthering heights – a tortuous tale
Wuthering Heights is a quite difficult book to dramatise because of its sheer size and relentlessly bleak tone. This is a pretty good attempt however, although I did forget completely who Hareton was and had to google him when I got home.
Written at a time when disease brought death into people’s lives easily, the spirit world was always a much closer possibility to people in Victorian society. On these balmy summer evenings, the Heartbreak audiences are there to enjoy themselves. Picnics, tables, chairs, fizz and take out pizza are in evidence. One lady had even brought her own chaise longue! I’m still not sure how she managed it. As the sky darkens, the audience are drawn into lives of the characters like a Victorian soap opera. Heathcliff gets to be with his great and only love in the final scene, when he dies and joins the ghost of Cathy at last.