The heat, dust and sand storms of the Yorkshire Moors are brought to life in this version of Wuthering Heights, which has been transferred to an Indian location. But Emily Bronte’s story can still be recognised at the heart of this production created by Tamasha and Oldham Coliseum.
The production is set in Rajasthan, where a elderly father brings a peasant boy, Krishan, (Pushpinder Chani)to his home and treats him like a son and wants him to become a brother to Hari (Anil Kumar) and Shakuntala (Youkti Patel). But when the father dies suddenly Krishan has no option but to leave. Bt this is not before he and Shakuntala have realised they are in love.
Three years pass before he returns and in that time Shakuntala has married, but when they meet again their love is immediately rekindled. From then on we know the love affair is doomed and peoples’ lives will change forever.
At the front of the stage throughout is an old man telling his story, but who is he? Telling would be giving the game away.
While much is made of this production being ”Bronte goes to Bollywood” there are sadly no large scale dance numbers. The numerous songs are lip-synced, as in Indian movies, which while giving a great authentic feel, do leave you slightly unconformable when no once applauds at the end of a song.
Deepak Vermas book has enough humour to keep things moving along at a nice steady pace but I waited in vain for Direstor Kristine Landon-Smith large scale musical numbers to what was otherwise a great production. Sue Maynes multi-tiered set is well utilised although its overall sandy colour does becoming boring after a while.
Do not worry if you are unfamiliar with the book, the production is good enough to stand on its own merits without making continual marketing references to Bronte.
- John Dixon