Maskers Theatre Company
 
Wuthering Heights
27 to 31 January 2015 - in the Nuffield Theatre at 7:30pm  

Wuthering Heights

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Wuthering Heights

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Performed at

The Nuffield Theatre
University Road, Southampton

Map and directions here

Programme

Flier

Poster

Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights is one of the most enduring love stories of all time. This vibrant and exhilarating adaptation uses exciting physical theatre techniques to bring the audience a thrilling theatrical experience.

Note: this production contains scenes of physical violence

Synopsis

Emily Brontë's Gothic tale of tortured love is brought to the stage in all its turbulent, passionate glory in this exhilarating and vibrant adaptation by Lucy Gough. Growing up together on the Yorkshire Moors, Catherine Earnshaw and the gypsy Heathcliff are inseparable after he is adopted into her family. But when Catherine marries the refined Edgar Linton, Heathcliff sets his mind to revenge. Their destructive relationship is one of the most enduring love stories of English literature. The story is told in its entirety, showing the doomed relationship between Catherine and Heathcliff and the consequences suffered by their respective children, Cathy and Linton. With a strong physical element, this highly visual production has the moors as a tangible character and Catherine's ghost is a constant presence. Don't miss what is surely one of the most famous and enduring love stories of all time. 
"Darkly Gripping" - The Guardian

Reviews and Accolades
Southern Daily Echo - Friday 30th January: Daily Echo - Tuesday 27th January:
SCENE ONE 28th Jan 2015 - There is a reason why Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights is on many English literature courses - it is a complex story that explores some pretty dark aspects of the human psyche. At this point I should confess to my cultural ignorance and admit that I have not read this classic book. Thus, in order to explain the plot, please forgive me using an analogy to fictional characters I have familiarity with. Imagine that Lily Potter really loves Severus Snape, but marries an insipid James Potter for money and lifestyle. Snape then marries James Potter's sister partly on the rebound and partly to gain the lifestyle he couldn't offer. After Lily dies (in childbirth), Snape then turns violent and possessive and subjugates those around him – James, the Dursleys, and both his and Lily's children - just to try to find an outlet for his anger at the earlier rejection.
Now, replace Lily with Catherine Earnshaw (Lydia Longman), Snape with Heathcliffe (George Attwill) and James Potter with Edgar Linton (George Davies) and compress 20 years’ worth of time into just over 2 hours then you pretty much have the plot basics. Phew!
Having never read the original, I am unable to compare this adaptation to it directly. However, it is very clear that this is a pared-down version of the book, with only 9 characters and 8 cast. This forces the small number on stage to work very hard, not least due to the very high number of fight sequences that have been well choreographed into it to illustrate the darker side of, particularly, Heathcliffe.
I should say that many of the characters have few redeeming features. Catherine Earnshaw is a typical flighty and, at times, heartless woman in her early 20s who may in actual fact deserve to be troubled by her two-faced, attention seeking actions; Heathcliffe, after being jilted by Catherine, is an obsessed and unlikeable character, especially in his vindictiveness once Catherine dies; and Edgar Linton is a very weak individual, though well-meaning. Much of the darkness in the piece stems from the discordant atmosphere in the Earnshaw home, Wuthering Heights. Catherine’s jealous brother Hindley (Jonathan Marmont – the equivalent of Vernon Dursley) fosters Heathcliffe’s inadequacies early on and, later, fails to rescue Heathcliffe’s wife, Isabella (Michelle Heffer) or son, Linton (again, Michelle Heffer) from their violent confinement with Heathcliffe at Wuthering Heights. Hindley also fails to provide a supporting environment for his son Hareton (Robert Osborne), or seek the support of the “maid of all work” - and the only cohesive and positive character – Nelly (Sarah Russell).
The darkness of each character is very evident from all the cast. However, there are moments of “light” in Act 1 which could have been a little lighter to accentuate these. It was only in Act 2 that the contrast between these gelled together and set the context for some of Heathcliffe’s redeeming features to really come across. This is not a criticism of the lead role, as the context for these was actually set by the interactions between a number of cast members immediately before. It seemed as if some of the cast only relaxed into the darker elements following the introduction of the near-comic character of Hareton, and when some of the disjointed nature of Act 1 was past.
This is a highly complex piece and I struggle to see any other way by which these could have been displayed, other than by using the simple (and padded) set with Wuthering Heights on the left, the Lintons’ home on the right, and these linked by the moor. Nonetheless, as an audience member I struggled at times to work out how the right-hand side of the side of the stage was being used and feel that, when this area was serving as the Lintons’ home, a little more firmness regarding entry and exit rules may have been helpful. The younger members of the cast would have benefitted from some ageing in Act 2, as this was 20 years after the bulk of Act 1, and I also feel some of the interventions by the ghost of Catherine in Act 2 could have occurred as spoken sound effects or could have utilised the Juliet balconies in the venue. These are very minor criticisms of what was, otherwise, an illustrative evening of the benefits of being courteous and considerate to one another (or at least being able to get away from those who are not). - Steve Young

Wednesday 28th January -

We were pleased to welcome some VIPs to the Nuffield, and they really enjoyed Wuthering Heights! They were particularly impressed with the intensity brought by the actors and the cracking pace of the show. We've got the mayoral seal of approval!

(L-R: Grahame Ridley and Jane Kennedy from Wiltshire Society; Paul Green, Director; Mayor and Mayoress of Eastleigh, Tony and Janice Noyce; James Norton, Maskers Marketing)

The Authors

Emily Brontë was born on 30 July 1818 in Yorkshire. She was the younger sister of Charlotte Brontë and the fifth of six children. In 1820 the family moved to Haworth where their father, Patrick, was Curate. Their mother died from cancer in September 1821. Her older sisters Maria and Elizabeth caught typhoid and both died a few years later. In the autumn of 1845, Charlotte discovered notebooks containing poems Emily had written. Their younger sister Anne brought out her own manuscripts and revealed she had been writing poems in secret as well. The poems were published in 1846. Wuthering Heights was first published in 1847. The novel's innovative structure somewhat puzzled critics, but it has since become a literary classic. In 1848 Emily caught a severe cold during the funeral of her brother Branwell, which led to tuberculosis. On 19 December 1848, a year after its publication, she died aged 30, and never knew the fame she would achieve with her one and only novel. In 1883 The Literary news stated "[Brontë] loved the solemn moors, she loved all wild, free creatures and things," and her love of the moors is manifest in Wuthering Heights.

Lucy Gough was born in London, and eventually moved to Fishguard in Wales, where she had her first child at the age of 18. With no qualifications but a passion for the theatre she completed a Drama course with the OU. At the age of 24 with two children she moved to Aberystwyth to do a B.A. Hons in Drama. As part of her degree she wrote a play which was performed, called Bad Habits Die Hard. She then completed an M.A. in playwriting at Birmingham University. The play she wrote for the M.A., called Joanna, was also performed and then broadcast by BBC Radio. More stage plays followed and she wrote scripts for Hollyoaks for ten years from 1996. Later work includes: Mapping The Soul (2001), Gryfhead (2003), Wuthering Heights (2003, BBC Radio 4), Mapping The Soul 2 (2005) and The White Hare (2008). A stage version of Wuthering Heights was toured from Aberystwyth Arts Centre in 2011. She currently writes for the BBC drama series Doctors and is a creative research fellow at University of Wales Aberystwyth.

The Director

Paul Green - Director. It's been 30 years since Paul last directed at the Nuffield, a slightly different show: Superted -The Musical. He has acted and directed for many companies in the Southampton area. Paul has been Artistic Director of Talking Heads Theatre Pub, and was then a member of Dead Cat Bounce Theatre Company, which toured the South of England for two years. In 2012 he directed The 39 Steps at The Minack Theatre in Cornwall. Wuthering Heights will be the second Brontë adaptation he has directed, the first being Jane Eyre, performed at the Plaza Theatre last year. He has directed one previous show for Maskers, Contractions by Peter Bartlett, and recently appeared in Betrayal by Harold Pinter, as an Italian waiter.

Cast

Catherine Earnshaw is played by Lydia Longman. Lydia is delighted to be debuting with the Maskers as her favourite character in her favourite novel - a story with which she first fell in love after reading Wuthering Heights at the age of 16. Bringing Catherine to life has been an absolute dream come true; surrounded by such a strong cast has made it an unforgettable four months and she hopes you enjoy the result of their hard work, fun and passion. When not working with the Maskers she's directing, producing and performing Shakespeare shows in a week and developing unique 'Shakespeariences' with her company, The Shakesperts.

Heathcliff is played by George Attwill. This is George's first production with the Maskers. George is also currently working with Forest Forge Theatre Company, The Gap Theatre Company and has previously worked with Forest Forge Youth Theatre, Hampshire Youth Theatre and RAODS. His interests include eating food in large quantities, irritating Paul Green and occasionally running off to America.

Nelly Dean is played by Sarah Russell. Sarah has been a Masker for more than 10 years and is usually to be found behind the scenes working on Maskers marketing and publicity. She has appeared in several productions over the years and her last performance at the Nuffield was as Mrs Braddock in The Graduate in 2012. More recently (2014) she played Beatrice in The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds at the Chesil in Winchester. She is excited to be a member of such a young and talented cast for Wuthering Heights. Sarah is married with two young children and works in management consulting.

Cathy Linton is played by Georgia Humphrey. This is Georgia’s second production with Maskers, her first being Portley the otter in Wind in the Willows in 2006, when she was 10 years old. Wuthering Heights is slightly more demanding than Portley’s first swimming lesson, and Cathy is a role that she is greatly enjoying. Since Wind in the Willows, Georgia has been involved in a variety of productions in school and sixth form. She is taking a gap year before going on to university in 2015 to study English Literature. Georgia has a passion for literature and for science fiction and fantasy, and utilises that passion as a freelance costume designer and alternative model in her spare time.

Hindley is played by Jonathan Marmont. Jonathan's Maskers debut was in Betrayal by Harold Pinter in 2014. Prior to this he joined RAODS in 2010 appearing in the musicals Gypsy and Guys & Dolls. 2012 saw Jonathan in a production of The 39 Steps at the open air Minack Theatre in Cornwall playing in excess of 17 roles. This was swiftly followed by roles in The Flint Street Nativity, Ladies Down Under, Jane Eyre and Accrington Pals. Jonathan jumped at the chance to play 'Hindley' in Wuthering Heights and has thoroughly enjoyed working on this wonderful piece of theatre.

Hareton Earnshaw is played by Rob Osborne. Despite having a degree in English Literature, Wuthering Heights had somehow managed to escape Rob’s attention. Luckily, joining Maskers soon after graduating allowed him to fill this gap in his literary repertoire and gave him a true appreciation of the violent passion in Emily Brontë’s only novel. Wuthering Heights is his most demanding role to date and has challenged him in many ways as an actor. He would like to thank the director, cast and crew for the skills he has gained and for all their support and guidance.

Isabella Linton / Linton Earnshaw is played by Michelle Heffer. This is Michelle’s second performance with Maskers having played the part of Catherine in PROOF in 2014. Michelle’s acting experience to date has mainly been in small studio settings and so she is delighted for the opportunity to perform at the Nuffield Theatre. Michelle first read Wuthering Heights as part of her GCSE English curriculum and she is excited to be involved in bringing it to life in this fast-paced, physical adaptation. In her spare time Michelle does ballroom dancing which she hopes will help her bring some elegance to the role of Isabella.

Edgar Linton is played by George Davies. George started acting 2 years ago and has since acted with the Nuffield Youth Theatre, with roles in Someone to Blame and Feathers in the Snow, and with Hampshire Youth Theatre, in Great Expectations and The Best Christmas Present in the World. He is also currently
working on the Nuffield YT’s next show, His Dark Materials. This is George’s first show with Maskers. George is currently an A-level student studying Biology, Drama and English Language and Literature. Besides college he plays the piano, ukulele and guitar and can mumble in Italian. He would be sorely disappointed to not be the only George on the cast were not Georges such lovely people.

 
Crew
Production Manager:
 Kathryn Salmon
Stage Manager:
 Kathryn Salmon
Assistant Stage Manager:
 Kathrina Gwynne
Set Design:
 Adam Taussik
Lighting Designer:
 Clive Weeks
Lighting Operator:
 Mike Matthias & Ruben Sanchez-Garcia
Sound Designer:
 Jamie McCarthy
Sound Operator:
 Angie Barks
Stage Crew:
 Adam Taussik, Ian Wilson
Properties:
 Alison Tebbutt, Jo Iacovou & Gill Buchanan
Costumes:
 Meri Mackney & Susan Wilson
Set Building:
 Roger Lockett, Ken Hann, Graham Buchanan & Geoff Cook
For the company
Technical Manager: Jamie McCarthy;   Marketing Director: Sarah Russell;   Marketing Team: Angela Stansbridge, Ruth Kibble, Leah Barlow, James Norton, Clive Weeks, Greg Parr;   Front of House Manager: Chris Baker;   Front of House Display: Hannah Swieton, Leah Barlow;   Box Office Manager: Chris Baker;   Photography: Clive Weeks;   Bar Manager: Jan Spiers