by Alexi Kaye Campbell.
Tricycle Theatre 269 Kilburn High Road NW6 7JR To 20 July 2013.
Mon-Sat 7.30pm Mat Sat 3pm & 3, 10 July 2pm.
Post-show Discussion 10 July 7.30pm.
Runs 2hr 15min One interval.
TICKETS: 020 7328 1000
Review: Timothy Ramsden 14 June.
New story with familiar elements to breed content in the right audience.
This show has considerable potential at midweek matinees in any of the leading seaside resorts of England; Eastbourne comes to mind, if only because of its well-established and active Devonshire Park Theatre.
For there are bangs and flashes, shocks and surprises. There is a dark, Victorian setting – an old house, for the time is 1937. There is at least one troubled woman of a certain age. There is a ghostly presence. There are clearly-outlined characters.
It’s true, hiss-the-businessman might go awry in a place not short of retired gentlemen of that class, who may well see Harold as right in laying-off men and investing in new machinery; indeed they might only disapprove that, by comparison with other manufacturers in the Bracken Moor region, he’s laying-off so few so late.
More tender sensibilities will go along with the distraught Elizabeth, bereaved some years ago of her son when he went to the eponymous wild place and suffered an apparent accident. There’s also the frisson of the intensity that clearly belonged to the friendship between the dead boy and the living son of family friends who are visiting on this particularly dark and stormy night.
Such thrills alone aren’t what brought Polly Teale and her Shared Experience company to Bracken Moor. Or, if they did, it’s not simply the jump-in-the-seat, choke-on-your-peppermint-cream moments. Hiding in the dark are the guilt, judgment and calls for justice that have made the Brontës’ lives and major works a significant part of her oeuvre with the company. Even the Yorkshire setting fits, darkly brooding, Haworth-style.
So there’s a ghostly story of guilt examining Wordsworth’s “getting and spending we lay waste our powers/Little we see in Nature that is ours” sandwiched between latter-day Stanley Houghton or Harold Brighouse story of masters and men – caught neatly by the mix of authority and respect in which hard-faced Harold talks with his works manager.
But the originals remain apparent; no height seems too wuthering, no Jane too airy. At the Tricycle. At a seaside or market-town rep things might go down differently, as a distinctively acted and produced chiller.
John Bailey/Dr Gibbons: Antony Byrne.
Harold: Daniel Flynn.
Eileen: Natalie Galvin.
Elizabeth: Helen Schlesinger.
Geoffrey: Simon Shepherd.
Terence: Joseph Timms.
Vanessa: Sarah Woodward.
Company: Bili Keogh/Jamie Flatters.
Director: Polly Teale.
Designer: Tom Piper.
Lighting: Oliver Fenwick.
Sound/Composer: Jon Nicholls.
Movement: Liz Ranken.