Mash ups.Wuthering Heights. Nuffield Theatre, Southampton June 2009.

After spending many years knowing Wuthering Heights chiefly through the auspices of Kate Bush’s big hair and wildly waving arms, I settled myself down for a good talking-to. Come on now Julia! Surely it is time to read Wuthering Heights!

Probably because I like Jane Eyre and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, I decided to give it a go; expecting I think something a bit fluffy, very melodramatic and more than a little schoolgirl. I was both right and very wrong. I loved it. Despite not liking any of the characters particularly I was compelled to find out what happened to them. The muscular, visceral prose grabbed me by the hair and wouldn’t let me go.

So it was with this new and exciting bit of reading under my belt I saw an advert for Wuthering Heights in Southampton! Bollywood style!

Bollywood style? I looked. I pondered. I bought a ticket.

Perhaps I had been thinking about Bollywood style a little bit recently too, with a few trips to the cinema to see Slumdog and adding to my collection of international music. So Bollywood Wuthering Heights seemed like a good idea.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. That being said the setting strangely leant itself to Bronte’s novel, and I think old Emily (who I imagine was a bit out there herself) would have approved.

The story was set in India, with the heath becoming a desert and Heathcliff the ‘gypsy’ boy becoming a stray from another caste. Cathy was suitably spoilt and indulged and tragic, unable to understand her own feelings until too late.

As should be with Wuthering Heights this production was marked by a lot of simmering passion; passionate love and hatred.

And in line with my Kate Bush knowledge of Wuthering Heights there was a lot of singing.

Framed as the novel is by a narrator, the production began with an apparently different story relating the central account. Where it differed was at the end our narrator was in fact the Heathcliff character, who went off and was sent dustily into the sandstorm after his Cathy.

Colourful where Bronte is dour and grey, I thought this was a mash-up that worked very well with some engaging performances and a vibrancy which made the whole production very appealing.

And I am not sure if I mentioned this; but there was some great singing.


Popular Posts