22-25 April 2015
Reviewed by Clare Robbin
Tonight I attended the first night of the Northern Ballet’s Wuthering Heights at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton. The show runs from 22-25 April 2015.
Wuthering Heights is based on Emily Bronte’s romantic masterpiece, and is choreographed by Northern Ballets Artistic Director David Nixon, and performed to a live music score by Claude-Michel Schonberg, composer of Les Miserable and Miss Saigon.
The Mayflower Theatre is a stunning grade 2 listed theatre positioned in the city centre. It has a fantastic website which gives details on how to get there, train, ferry, car, bus etc… There is nearby parking (just a five minute walk away) and the website even recommends nearby restaurants and bars for your visit. I drove and found the theatre easy to find and parking stress free! The theatre outside has a very modern foyer but once inside the grade 2 building shines through! After collecting my tickets from a very pleasant member of staff and after using the bathroom facilities (very clean and tidy) we decided to find our seats, as we had no time for a pre-show drink. The theatre does have 3 different bars and a shop in the foyer with a large selection of snacks. At the normal theatre/cinema price!
The auditorium is spectacular and our seats great, with a good view of the stage, the ballet started promptly.
Before watching this ballet I had basic knowledge of the story of Wuthering Heights, from my school days and I must admit I was slightly sceptical as I was not sure if I would fully understand what was going on in the ballet. But I was wrong! It was easy to follow and I was quickly deeply immersed in the turbulent love affair of Cathy and Heathcliff, the dancers captured the sprit of the story so well.
This tale tells the story of Heathcliff, who is brought home by Cathy and Hindley’s father and “adopted” into their family, much to Hindley’s disgust. As children Cathy and Heathcliff become inseparable spending time on the moors, it is there they come upon Thrushcross Grange. They disturb a party that is taking place and in the rush to escape Cathy hurts her foot and is taken in by Edgar (who becomes besotted with her) and his sister Isabella. Cathy is very quickly captivated by the opulence of the Grange and on her return to Wuthering Heights is disgusted by its gloomy interior. She chooses Edgar’s opulence and we soon seem them wed. Heathcliff is an unexpected guest at their wedding and briefly Cathy and Heathcliff’s love is sparked again, but once again Cathy chooses Edgar. In his rage, Heathcliff uses Isabella and she falls for his charm. This charm soon turns aggressive though, but she submits. Despite choosing Edgar, Cathy is jealous when she sees Heathcliff with Isabella and she is drawn back to the moors and her memories of Heathcliff. There their love is rekindled, but Isabella spots them. The night on the moors was enough to make Cathy very ill and she meets her demise.
The epilogue was the most beautiful part of the ballet, Heathcliff on the moors years later desperate to see Cathy again, snow falls down his heart fails and he dies, they then take us back to a young playful Cathy and Heathcliff who used to play on the moors.
My favourite set was the opening to the second act, Emily and Edgar marry, and the set was filled with joy happiness and beautiful swishing gowns.
The costumes were fantastic and helped to set the scene a lot of the time, Cathy’s white floaty dress was beautiful the scenery and props, the music amazing they danced the greatest love story of all time! This was an amazingly passionate performance, two hours of body language at its most expressive. Well done to all the dancers!
Overall, this was an amazing performance, choreography, costumes, set, orchestra, I would definitely recommend this to friends and family and would see it again myself.
Tickets cost from £21 to £28 (booking fees may apply).
Nothern Ballet’s Wuthering Heights is at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton until 25 April 2015. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 02380 711811.
Mayflower Theatre, Commercial Road, Southampton, SO15 1GE | 02380 711811