Review: Chapterhouse airs classic love story at Creswell Crags

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Creswell Crags was a wonderful setting for an open air production of Wuthering Heights by Chapterhouse Theatre Company of Emily Bronte’s classic novel.

The complex narrative technique and the elusive relationship between the two central characters, Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, make it a difficult work to adapt for the stage. There were losses. One of the most memorable characters, Joseph, the self-righteous, mean-spirited servant, was missing; the characterisation, especially of Edgar and Isabella Linton, edged towards the stereotypical; and the writer, Laura Turner, added some melodramatic touches of her own.

However at its best the dialogue captured the flavour and spirit of the original.

The structure worked well, allowing the action to move forwards and backwards in time. The set, divided between Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights, reflected the divisions in the families and in the individuals themselves.

The doubling up of parts helped to convey the way in which patterns of behaviour are repeated from one generation to another. The actors kept the pace of the piece going and generated a sense of vitality and commitment.

The presence of the moors was vividly evoked. As the sun went down, wood-pigeons added their distinctive notes to an enjoyable and well-attended event.

Wuthering Heights will be shown indoors at Buxton Opera House on September 4.

ALAN PAYNE