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Pictorial 'Raging heights, restless souls' for people of all ages #tf2010

Wuthering Heights is often mentioned in the same breath as other nineteenth-century classics such as Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice, but Emily Brontë's book is infinitely darker than those other coquettish girl books. Heathcliff and Cathy's big, dramatic passion actually connects surprisingly well with emos who are Twilight, True Blood and devour other contemporary vampire stories.

Adaptor Jeroen Olyslaegers and director Floor Huygen were well aware of this when they adapted the novel for the stage into Fierce heights, restless souls, a co-production of Dutch youth theatre company Artemis and Flemish Antigone. The show garnered high praise, can now be seen in TF, but was also nominated for two Gouden Krekels, the awards for youth theatre.

Cathy and Patrick's father, in his kindness, takes care of an orphaned child, Heathcliff. The two spoilt children, until then playing with each other in unison, at first seem solid in their dislike of the newcomer; they treat him like a dog. But soon Cathy becomes fascinated, and Joris Smit as Heathcliff manages to convey a certain animalistic passion.

Mutual passion is betrayed and revenge follows. The story is cleverly, especially evocatively told: the brother who wants to tie himself to his sister with a rope, which she loosens; the housekeeper strangling a bunch of flowers; Smit hurling bunches of wood onto the stage, and especially the wind from two huge machines that time and again makes the curtains flutter and the characters' heads spin.

The chaos of heady lust is too frightening for Cathy and she marries the dull but decent Edgar.

It works mainly because Alejandra Theus manages to make Cathy sympathetic. Cold two years out of drama school, she puts on a wonderful, carrying role here. 'Your will makes you very pretty,' Heathcliff says of her, and together they manage to keep the battle for supremacy interesting for almost the entire performance. There is also a special role for the housekeeper (An Hackselmans), who, as narrator, also explains the major time jumps in the story to the characters, so that she becomes a kind of oracle. Continually, she has a basket of laundry with her, which she tries to fold. But never does she get her job done, always the wind intervenes.

In the TF selection Savage heights an oddity. No pressing topical issues on stage, but a beautifully told, dramatic story, for people of all ages. But especially for young people with their own heartbreaking lives.

'Raging heights, restless souls' by Artemis and Antigone. Seen, City Theatre, 8 September. Still to be seen: 9 September.

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