WRITER Laura Turner had a major job on her hands in adapting Wuthering Heights for the open-air stage, especially when the production is also visiting theatres. As audience, we expect indoor productions to be lavish, full of designer staging and props, while outdoors, the landscape plays an integral part, especially as Chapterhouse is well known for visiting stately homes and castles with the most beautiful backdrops. I saw the company’s Sense and Sensibility at Durham Gala last year, which had almost the same meagre scenery. However, it would be totally wrong of me to judge a production by its scenery.

Turner’s fine adaptation unravels the complexities of Bronte’s revenge filled text. Director, Rebecca Gadsby does a sterling job of keeping the action moving and making sense of the cruelty and passion across two timelines.

Paul Tonkin’s Heathcliffe is the perfect tortured romantic, he’s in love with Catherine Earnshaw, a lovely yorkshire performance from Katy Helps, but Heathcliffe is complicated and his bizarre nature makes him a rare character, with components of both hero and villain.

Other performances of note are Helen Fullerton’s feisty nurse, Nelly Dean and Katherine Astbury’s winsome Isabella Linton and I also rather liked Anna Simmons’ enthusiastic Cathy Linton, a spiritual girl who is totally unaware of her parents’ history, constantly wanting to discover what went of at Withering Heights.

A great production and if Chapterhouse can address the inside/outside problems, perhaps a designer would help, I think this production could run and run.

Helen Brown