The prospect of York Theatre Royal and Bolton’s Octagon Theatre’s production of Anne Bronte’s slightly lesser-known novel was tantalising. Effectively a tale of two halves, therefore tricky to adapt to the visual arts, this was cleverly brought together by the character of Gilbert Markham, stalking the set in the shadows and reading Helen’s journal.
A solid Act I - with handsome costume and set design by Amanda Stoodley - set the story up carefully but it was in Act II that the collective talents of the company really shone through with an almost balletic sequence, acted in dimmed light (and mercifully without volcanic bursts of dialogue) serving as an outstanding moment, illustrating a passing of time and setting the characters in context.
On the whole, this was a good adaptation of the novel with striking solo cello music played between scenes, creating an engaging mood and sustained atmosphere. What must have been a tricky concept to pull off did so through the originality of this version of Anne Bronte’s tale. Plaudits must go to Deborah McAndrew’s adapted script: no mean feat for a dramatist to reintroduce this classic tale to a modern audience without losing the power of the original.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall runs until 6 May. Times: 7:30pm, matinees 2pm Thursday and 2pm Saturday. Book by clicking below.BOOK NOW