PREVIEW NARRATIVE DANCE WUTHERING HEIGHTS Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Thu 11–Sat 13 Mar
There are no shortage of love affairs in the annals of English literature, but few burn with the passion of Cathy and Heathcliff. The tragic hero and heroine of Emily Brontë’s 19th century novel Wuthering Heights have been lifted from page to stage and small screen many times over the years. And now, courtesy of Northern Ballet Theatre (NBT), that tumultuous relationship is being brought to life through dance.
Choreographed by NBT’s artistic director, David Nixon, with an emotive score by Claude-Michel Schönberg (of Les Miserables and Miss Saigon fame), Wuthering Heights the ballet ends mid-way through the novel, after Cathy’s death. It’s an emotional scene – especially when the dancers involved are real-life partners, as California-born Martha Leebolt discovered when she played Cathy opposite her boyfriend Christopher Hinton-Lewis in 2009.
‘It was awesome,’ recalls Leebolt. ‘At the end when Cathy is dying on the bed, it was just so sad. We were both crying and really in the moment, and I remember thinking we’d better make sure we make that last lift!’ Due to Leebolt incurring an injury, the couple were only able to perform ten shows together – and sadly, now that’s she’s fit again, Hinton-Lewis has suffered a similar fate. But as Leebolt says, no matter who plays Heathcliff, ‘when the music and choreography come together, you can really feel it, even if you’re not dancing with your real partner.’ For Leebolt, taking on the role of the strong-headed but loving Catherine
Earnshaw has been a fantastic challenge. ‘I really love the character,’ she says. ‘She’s not just a normal romantic heroine, it’s like playing two characters in one show because her personality is so wide ranging. There are good and bad points about her as a person, but as a role to play for two hours it’s pretty exciting.’ (Kelly Apter)
84 THE LIST 4–18 Mar 2010
REVIEW NEW PLAY THE CITY Tron Theatre, Glasgow, until Sat 6 Mar ●●●●●
A woman meets a writer she admires at a train station and is thrilled to be invited for coffee with him; her husband, meanwhile, has recently lost his job and is confused about his wife’s coldness towards him; a nurse who lives nearby turns up on their doorstep to complain about the noise their children make in the garden when she’s trying to sleep. Gradually, themes emerge from these fragmented encounters – suburban alienation, a fear of intimacy, disappointment – but the play’s through-line is a palpable sense of communication breakdown, embodied in the husband’s desperate cry to his wife of ‘What is it you’re trying to say?’
The characters in Martin Crimp’s play converse in a way that is unfamiliar from acceptable maxims of conversation, imparting anecdotes in reverse and leaving out the most crucial information until the last possible moment. There’s a neat ‘explanation’ at the end of the play that relates to the artist’s struggle to coherently turn real life into stories, but this is not really the most important or compelling aspect of the piece. The fact that we as the audience wish to understand and impose a narrative on these disjointed scenes is a huge compliment to Crimp’s writing – which creates the sense of unease you might find in a psychological thriller – and the believable performances from the four- strong cast. (Allan Radcliffe)
REVIEW CLASSIC THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Tue 9–Thu 11 Mar; Howden Park Centre, Livingstone, Fri 12 Mar. Seen at Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Fri 26 Feb ●●●●●
The prescience of Gogol’s comedy of political corruption, avarice and ineptness goes without saying. What’s remarkable about Communicado’s revival of The Government Inspector is that it manages to be riotously funny and entertaining while never losing sight of Gogol’s satirical intent. The running time is just shy of three
hours, but Gerry Mulgrew’s production zips by at pace with only occasional dips in energy from the ten-strong company, some doubling up on roles and playing an impressive array of musical instrument during scene changes. Every aspect, from the cartoonish ensemble playing to the vigorous musical interludes, directed by Alasdair Macrae, and the strong lighting effects, has been tightly choreographed to create a heightened sense of the rot at the heart of this society. While at times there’s a little too much bustle and uproar on stage, the show’s general exuberance forms a large part of its appeal.
Andy Clark is on impish form as
Khlestakov, the slob mistaken for the eponymous official, who takes the town’s municipal leaders for everything he can. But it’s John Bett as the Governor who provides the most chilling moment, when at the climax he breaks through the outraged barrage onstage to confront the audience with our own complicity in this corruption. (Allan Radcliffe)
R E N B U H K E C A J
REVIEW NEW WRITING CLUTTER KEEPS COMPANY Currently touring throughout Scotland. Seen at Tramway, Glasgow, Wed 17 Feb ●●●●●
The title of this new young adult production from Birds of Paradise is so eye- catchingly obtrusive, it’s a surprise to come out after 80 minutes and realise that it’s really kind of irrelevant to the story. However, Davey Anderson’s packed-out script – the tale of a teenage boy with Aspergers and the assorted characters he encounters over a weekend – at times feels a little cluttered itself, weighted down with a surfeit of plot elements. It’s a shame, because the main characters are big, skilfully drawn, soulful parts,
and could do with a little breathing space. That said, while there’s a lot happening here, most of it is great: brilliantly energetic, with some lovely poetic moments and lots of truly witty character-based humour. All four actors, hardly pausing for breath, take on multiple roles, including that
of the narrator, and so function as live audio description for sight-impaired audiences (every word spoken is simultaneously subtitled for hearing-impaired audiences, too). This agglomeration of detail is turned into a production style by seamlessly slick choreography, so well integrated into the fast-flowing, continually updated narrative that you almost wouldn’t realise there was choreographed movement in here at all. Morvern Gregor’s excellent direction deserves a mention too: the whole production has clearly been rehearsed with near-military precision, but the actors make it look spontaneous. (Kirstin Innes)
K C R D L O G C M N N O M A E