DVD REVIEW: INDIGNATION

indignation

 

Indignation is a film that is based on a book by Philip Roth but it struggles to reach the lofty heights of its source material. The story is a coming-of-age one about a clever, Jewish boy and the battle of wits he is forced to engage in at his conservative college in 1951. It’s a beautifully-shot drama and dialogue-driven piece that makes for a more atmospheric novel than it does film.

Logan Lerman stars as Marcus Messner, a working-class Jewish boy from New Jersey. He wins a scholarship to a small, traditional college in Ohio. This placement means he avoids being drafted into the Korean War. Lerman is a clever kid who becomes an atheist and he takes exception to the college’s strict rules, especially the one where it is compulsory for the students to attend chapel. He also rejects the friendship of his fellow Jewish students and is subsequently thrust into a number of verbal sparring matches with an anti-Semitic, horrible and opinionated dean (Tracy Letts who has a few things in common with the dean/authority figure in Scent of a Woman.)

Another of Messner’s rites of passage involve his damaged but gorgeous classmate, Olivia (the excellent, Sarah Gadon.) The two go out on a date and at the end she performs oral sex on the virginal Messner. This act throws Messner into a tailspin of confusion and part of this can be chalked up to the sexual repression that was rife in the fifties.

Indignation is a subtle and dramatic period drama. The fact that a lot of the story is based around Messner and his growth as a college student and some general clashes of ideologies make for rather slow viewing that is better suited to one’s own imagination. The featurettes include some interviews with the cast as well as director, James Schamus (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon) as well as some information about the costumes and deconstructing the scene (the argument between the student and dean is the most powerful and potent of the entire film.) Indignation features some great performances and it’s an emotional character study but it is also one that is perhaps best left in the hands of Messer Roth himself.

Originally published on 7 February 2017 at the following website: http://www.impulsegamer.com/indignation-dvd-review/

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BOOK REVIEW: KARLY LANE – THIRD TIME LUCKY

karlylanethird

 

Karly Lane’s book, Third Time Lucky is a lovely adaptation of a Christmas novella. It’s a story that translates well to the longer format but it’s also one that is difficult to write about without revealing some crucial plot points. It is perhaps best if we consider that this is a rural romance that poses and solves a number of questions, including: is it possible to forgive the past? Can you learn to love after you’ve been duped by your partner and left a widower?  Can young lovers that were once torn apart rekindle their relationship? Do you choose revenge or forgiveness after being slighted?

This novel stars December Doyle, a strong and relatable character who lives in a small and mountainous town in country NSW called Christmas Creek. Doyle is a kind character that only sees the best in people. She’s also the only female to be born into her family for some time. As a result of this, she is often protected by her well-meaning but stubborn father and brothers.

Doyle finds herself newly single. Her childhood sweetheart, a former bad boy-turned-successful businessman named Seth Hunter returns to town just as she is beginning to pick up the pieces and rebuild her life. What ensues is a period where the main and supporting characters meet again and reassess their past relationships, rights and wrongs.

Third Time Lucky sees Karly Lane penning another intriguing romance novel. Lane is a country girl and it is obvious in her authentic prose and descriptions that are quite detailed and multi-faceted. Third Time Lucky is an easy and breezy read that will make you want to kick off your heels, relax into a couch and enjoy a simple but satisfying romance tale.

***Please note: a free copy of this book was given to the writer through a Beauty & Lace giveaway. To read the original review on that website please visit: http://bookgirl.beautyandlace.net/blog-tour-book-club-third-time-lucky

FILM REVIEW: MISS SAIGON

Actors Alistair Brammer and Eva Noblezada perform as Chris and Kim during a photocall for a new production of "Miss Saigon" at the Prince Edward Theatre in London May 19, 2014. The production marks the 25th anniversary of the musical by Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boubil. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)

The musical was written by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil who also wrote, Les Misérables. The story is actually based on Madame Butterfly, Giacomo Puccini’s opera about a tragic romance. In Miss Saigon the writers have taken the leads out of Japan and placed them into Vietnam with the romance blossoming between an American soldier and an innocent, young bargirl.

Eva Noblezada makes her professional acting debut as a vulnerable, 17-year-old girl named Kim. She is orphaned and accepts a bar job in Dreamland in order to survive. This seedy establishment is run by a French-Vietnamese hustler named The Engineer (Jon Jon Briones.) He is obsessed with money and concocts a “contest” where he crowns one of his working girls, “Miss Saigon” in order to charge a larger sum and commission for her services.

Kim meets an American G.I. named Chris (the dreamy, Alistair Brammer). Kim is naïve and sweet while Chris feels a bit lost in this strange environment but he also means well. The pair soon fall in love and marry. But they are separated during the fall of Saigon in 1975. Kim is left abandoned and pregnant and Noblezada does a fine job of making the audience really feel for the character. Kim also has to negotiate through the return of her cousin (Sangwoong Jo) who had been arranged to her in marriage by her late parents. But all she hopes for is a reunion with her beloved Chris.

The staging in this modern production at London’s Prince Edward Theatre is eye-catching with a helicopter appearing above the stage during the fall of the city and some black and white photography is also shown. There is also a grittiness to the poverty the poor characters experience and it’s hard to look away. The soundtrack is also a gorgeous and emotional one and the costumes are fabulous with Kim in demure pieces that set her apart from the raunchiness of the experienced, working girls. The ensemble also wear some glittery, showgirl outfits in “The American Dream” number when The Engineer reveals his big plans to move to the States.

Miss Saigon is a powerful story boasting equally large and sensitive ballads. This dramatic tale is a moving one about love, sacrifice and hope. The adaptation to the silver screen works well with the film capturing the simmering tension of the musical with close-ups honing on and emphasising the actor’s faces. This works well for the most part but at other points it does come at the expense of enjoying the ensemble’s dancing and the scenery, but this is just a minor quibble. Miss Saigon is ultimately a beguiling, melodious and downright beautiful experience that will tug at your heartstrings and leave you misty-eyed.

Originally published on 11 November 2016 at the following website: http://iris.theaureview.com/film-review-miss-saigon-translates-well-to-the-screen-in-its-25th-anniversary-will-leave-you-misty-eyed/

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FILM REVIEW: JOE CINQUE’S CONSOLATION

joe-cinque

 

Joe Cinque’s Consolation is a film that throws up a lot of questions. How much responsibility should society accept in a murder trial? Is a murder a preventable death? To what extent can we describe an inexplicable crime? This Australian film is based on some true events and is adapted from Helen Garner’s award-winning true crime book of the same name. The film is ultimately a fleeting, intense and enigmatic look at a senseless death.

The film marks the feature debut of Sotiris Dounoukos and is adapted for the screen by Matt Rubinstein. Dounoukos was a student at the Australian National University at the time the event took place and the key players were friends with his friends. While it could be argued that Dounoukos is close to the source material, he did embark on some additional research and interviews with a number of the people involved (with the exception of the accused killers.)

The film opens with the panicked emergency call by Anu Singh (Maggie Naouri) as she attempts to get an ambulance for her dying boyfriend, Joe Cinque (Jerome Meyer.) This act proves to be too little too late. Cinque had been drugged with Rohypnol and administered a lethal dose of heroin by Singh.

This story is not a courtroom drama. Instead it attempts to dramatise and piece together the events that led up to Cinque’s death. It begins in 1994 by showing the relationship that unfolds between the promising law student (Singh) and a handsome and caring engineering student named Joe Cinque. The film quickly fast forwards to 1997 where everything seems to unravel.

In time Singh becomes mentally unhinged and a drug addict. She is preoccupied with the notion that she is fat and suffering from various illnesses. She self-medicates herself by taking Ipecac, a drug she claims Cinque introduced to her as a means of weight control. Eventually the deranged Singh decides she will attempt suicide (with help from her friend, Madhavi Rao (Sacha Joseph)) but she is also torn because she doesn’t want to lose her beau. So both young women hold a series of dinner parties where Singh tells her friends about her bizarre plans to die but they fail to raise any red flags about these crazy ideas.

Maggie Naouri does an excellent job of portraying Singh. The film is an intense, emotional rollercoaster where it feels like Cinque’s parents are relegated to the backseat while the audience is given the role of judge, jury and executioner. The film is a disconcerting and frustrating one to watch at times, especially when some aspects (like Anu and Madhavi’s true motivations) seem mysterious, illogical and incomprehensible.

Joe Cinque’s Consolation is a film that throws up lots of questions about an abhorrent, Australian crime. The morals seem to be as complicated as the different relationships that are portrayed here. The film is an intense and poetic look at the horrific crime and while it remains true to the source material, it could have benefited from being turned into a detailed miniseries. In doing so, it could have painted a more complete picture of things. That in itself would have been a bigger consolation for the victim, the poor Joe.

Originally published on 11 October 2016 at the following website: http://iris.theaureview.com/film-review-joe-cinques-consolation-australia-2016-is-an-intense-and-poetic-look-at-a-horrific-crime/

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DVD REVIEW: KILL YOUR FRIENDS

killyour

 

Kill Your Friends is a film that could be renamed, “How To Lose Friends & Alienate People.” It is a black comedy that is based on John Niven’s semi-autobiographical novel of the same name. It’s also a film that’s a bit 24 Hour Party People with a twist of some Trainspotting and also boasts the same bloated excess as Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas.

The story centres around a seemingly charming man named Steven Stelfox (Nicholas Hoult (Warm Bodies.)) Stelfox is a ruthless and ambitious A & R (Artist & Repertoire) representative for a record label called Unigram. Hoult is a great actor but Stelfox is not an immediately likeable character. He’s actually more of a sharp-tongued anti-hero who frequently breaks down the fourth wall to explain himself and make joking asides to the audience. Some of these gags hit the mark while others about rape, the holocaust, paedophilia and aids are in poor taste.

Stelfox is rather Machiavellian in his approach to the world, especially work. When the label promises a promotion to his colleague, Roger Waters (James Corden,) Stelfox gets high and resorts to murder. When another guy is head-hunted, Stelfox frames him. Stelfox will stop at nothing- blackmail, murder and all manner of lies to get exactly what he wants. He doesn’t really love music, he’s only in it for the money.

The film is hedonistic and it enjoys lavishing itself in extremes and excesses. It also has a rather uneven tone, which some people may find jarring. One of the major positives of this film is its soundtrack. The story is set in 1997 at the height of the Britpop craze and the soundtrack boasts no less than: Radiohead, Blur, The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers and Echo & The Bunnymen. The songs are used to great effect, one highlight is watching Stelfox as he takes in Radiohead’s “Karma Police.”

This movie is cheeky and clever but it also could have been a much better one. Some of the characters could have benefited from some extra character development and the shifts in tone could have been ironed out so it was a little less extreme. Kill Your Friends is not a film that will change you life but it doesn’t aim to be. Instead it tries (sometimes too hard) to immerse the audience in the deep and dark world of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, but sometimes it feels like it isn’t playing the right tune.

Originally published on 2 September 2016 at the following website: http://www.impulsegamer.com/kill-friends-dvd-review/

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DVD REVIEW: HOW TO BE SINGLE

single

 

How To Be Single should be renamed, “Single White Female” or “Straight White Female”. The film is an episodic one about four single heterosexual pals in New York City (does this sound familiar?) It’s an unoriginal film that isn’t excellent but it’s also not as bad as you’d expect.

The film was written Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein and Dana Fox and it shares a certain style and feel to the group’s other works (He’s Just Not That Into You and Valentine’s Day). The story is actually an adaptation of a novel written by Sex In The City writer, Liz Tuccillo, meaning comparisons between the two seem inevitable. But How To Be Single also tries to tackle some new dating phenomena (emojis, internet dating) while ignoring others (Tinder). At its heart it tries to answer the question of why people always tell their life stories through their relationships while presenting four independent women at work, rest and play and a lot of the time it seems to show said women pursuing either a relationship or a casual hook-up (or the kinds of things it was supposed to be rallying against!)

Dakota Johnson from Fifty Shades of Grey stars as Alice, a girl that was restless in her long-term relationship with the man she met at university. She tells her boyfriend that the pair should take a break in order for her to do some soul-searching. Except that this journey of self-discovery actually involves being taken under the wing of an obnoxious and drunken hedonist (Rebel Wilson at her most irritating). The latter’s character is like SITC’s Samantha on steroids and while she does offer some brutal advice here, often the context is all wrong because she is too over-the-top and ridiculous to really matter. (I’m sure we’d all love to work at a legal firm where you can arrive three and a half hours late and introduce the new girl to the office environment by showing her all the best places for a snog or a shag).

Alice’s sister’s story is actually a lot more interesting. Meg (a sweet, Leslie Mann) is working as a doctor delivering babies but she does not want a child of her own. One day she changes her mind and decides that she needs to have a baby stat and she will go down the IVF route. This story could have been a touching drama between the two sisters but instead it is too lightweight and trying too hard to be funny in other parts. Lucy (Alison Brie) has nothing to do with the other girls but she is an online dating obsessive who often finds herself in the company of a womanising bartender (Anders Holm) because she resorts to pinching Wi-Fi in the bar downstairs from her apartment. The special features on the DVD are disappointing and include only some deleted scenes.

How To Be Single is a film about identity but it’s a little unsure about what it actually wants to be. It can’t decide whether it wants to empower women or play into the cliché-ridden status quo of society- or whether it wants to be fun and comedic or make some serious, social points. In trying to be so much it often fails to do anything really well. It means it’s pleasant but ultimately a forgettable chick flick. In all, this unoriginal, straight and conventional rom-com could have been sassy and clever but instead feels like a second-rate Sex In The City where the big in this big apple is the overwhelming number of characters, plots and themes.

Originally published on 4 June 2016 at the following website: http://www.impulsegamer.com/how-to-be-single-dvd-review/

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BLU-RAY REVIEW: FORREST GUMP

forrest gump

 

It’s been over 20 years since audiences were introduced to an idiot-savant named Forrest Gump. The whimsical dramedy was like Gump’s own telling of this one American life. It was ultimately an extraordinary story told in a magical way and was a well-deserved recipient of the Best Picture Oscar at the 67th Academy Awards.

The film is a sentimental adaptation of a novel by Winston Groom and the screenplay was written by Eric Roth. The film was directed by Robert Zemeckis who had helmed the Back to the Future films and would go on to work with Tom Hanks in Cast Away. Forrest Gump is a captivating and rich story that is full of both dark and sweet elements meaning there will be moments that will make you want to laugh, cry or will tug at your heart strings.

The Oscar-winning, Tom Hanks stars as the simple but charming, Gump. The film opens with the famous scenes of the pure white feather floating through the air before we stop to sit with Gump at a bus stop as he gently tells us his life story. It’s one full of wide-eyed optimism and some famous one-liners and it’s a tale that can appeal to everybody because it is told with such sincerity.

We learn that Gump has met US presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon as well as helping people to uncover the Watergate scandal. Gump has also met some famous rock stars, he taught Elvis Presley dance when the hound dog stayed at the Gump family home quite early on in his career and Gump also appeared with John Lennon on the Dick Cavett show. When Gump wasn’t busy rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous he also managed to run across the country, play college football, play ping-pong for America, fight in Vietnam and evolve into an astute businessman and shrimp boat captain.

Gump’s childhood friend and lifelong love was Jenny (Robin Wright). She had a series of issues to contend with in her life and hers was nowhere near as successful as Gump’s. Jenny tries her hand at singing, stripping, political activism, drugs and sex. Jenny’s life was a complicated one because she was abused by her father when she was young. By comparison, Gump was encouraged by his adoring mother (Sally Field) and she had her own unique way of explaining things to her mentally-challenged son, like likening life to a box of chocolates because “You never know what you’re gonna get”.

Forrest Gump is still captivating to watch thanks to its vivid storyline and some excellent lead performances. A special mention should also be made about the film’s fabulous soundtrack because it reads like a who’s who of popular American music from the mid to late 20th century. The film is also a visual delight thanks to the ultra HD video and the tireless work of Ken Ralston the special effects supervisor and his team. It is thrilling to watch the meetings between Gump and various stars as well as watching Lieutenant Dan (Gary Sinise) transform from able-bodied to a double amputee. You’d swear it was all real and this is particularly amazing when you consider that CGI was not used as commonly back then as it is today.

The Blu-ray edition has an extensive number of informative special features. These include feature-length documentaries about the making of the film including the art of screenplay adaption, the visual and sound effects and casting the younger version of Forrest Gump (Michael Conner Humphreys). There is a Q & A-style panel with Hanks, Roth, Zemeckis and Sinise as well as lots of cast and crew interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. Two theatrical trailers are also included as well as some screen tests and an extensive look at the film’s soundtrack with Rolling Stone’s Ben Fong-Torres. The latter is joined by musicians like: Michelle Phillips, David Crosby, Ray Manzarek, Roger McGuinn, Scott McKenzie, John Phillips, Pete Seeger and Jackson Browne, to name a few.

Forrest Gump is a Southern dream about an American hero. It’s an emotional and inspiration film that seems to be made out of fine, magical pixie dust. While the story may be a long one, it’s worth every minute to step inside the sweet, charming and sentimental world of Forrest Gump and his friends as they celebrate a life that was well-lived.

Originally published on 11 May 2016 at the following website: http://www.impulsegamer.com/forrest-gump-blu-ray-review/

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DVD REVIEW: PHOENIX

August .2013 Dreharbeiten zum CHRISTIAN PETOLD Film PHÖNIX mit Nina Hoss , Ronald Zehrfeld und Nina Kunzendorf Verwendung der Fotos nur in Zusammenhang mit dem Film PHÖNIX von Christian Petzold ( Model release No ) © Christian Schulz Mobil 01723917694

There’s more to the film, Phoenix than meets the eye. The story is an adaptation of the novel, Return from the Ashes and is set in Berlin after the Second World War. It’s is also a dark and disturbing tale about one Jewish woman’s journey home to Germany after she survived horrific injuries at Auschwitz.

 

The film is directed by Christian Petzold who adapted the story along with Harun Farocki. Phoenix is actually another collaboration between Petzold and lead actress, Nina Hoss (the pair worked together on Barbara and several other films). The latter is absolute captivating as Nelly Lenz, a singer who survived the Concentration Camps with disfiguring injuries. She has returned home a shell of a woman, mentally broken by the experience and bearing the physical scars of a gunshot wound to the face. Fortunately Lenz can have plastic surgery and while this can restore her looks, she will never look like she previously did (this premise does require a large suspension of disbelief).

Lenz is initially taken in by her friend Lene Winter (Nina Kunzendorf). Winter is well-meaning but she is also finding it difficult to live in Germany after everything that happened during the war. She tries to convince her friend to move to Palestine. But Nelly has other ideas, she’s still hopelessly devoted to her husband Johnny (Ronald Zehrfeld) and she hopes to find him. The questions is, “Will Johnny be able to recognise Nelly?”

This film is a slow-burning one that is highly-charged and emotional, especially in the final scenes. It has a recurring jazz theme of Kurt Weill and Ogden Nash’s atmospheric song, “Speak Low”. It confronts the audience and forces them to ask some difficult questions about love, identity and betrayal. And while things can seem a tad implausible at times, the film does manage to hold its own thanks to some important performances (especially in the case of Hoss who manages to convey so much suffering and emotion in a simple, pained look or expression).

Phoenix is a raw and subtle film that has some things in common with Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. The ending is a little unsatisfying after such a tense and dramatic build-up but it is still a rich, detailed and original look at life immediately after World War II. In all, this is a nuanced film where knowledge is power and people may not be what they initially seem, which means it is set to keep the viewer on their toes.

Originally published on 7 May2016 at the following website: http://www.impulsegamer.com/phoenix-dvd-review/

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THEATRE REVIEW: WUTHERING HEIGHTS @ RIVERSIDE THEATRE, PARRAMATTA (22.03.2016)

WutheringheightsproductionHR-1905 - Photo by Dylan Evans

 

Photo credit: Dylan Evans



Love will tear us apart. This song lyric by the late Ian Curtis of Joy Division seems an appropriate way to sum up the gothic romance tale, Wuthering Heights. Queensland’s shake & stir theatre co. have produced a rather faithful and intense adaptation of Emily Brontë’s story, but it also manages to add a few cotemporary flourishes that complement the melodrama.

The play begins with an ominous crash of thunder and lightning and this serves as a signpost for the drama that is to come. Hindley (Nick Skubij who doubles as the show’s adaptor and director) and Catherine Earnshaw are privileged young siblings living on an estate known as Wuthering Heights on the Yorkshire moors. The pair are also the children of Mr Earnshaw, a character who is omitted from this production. Mr Earnshaw adopts a young, sullen gypsy boy he names Heathcliff and this act sets off a chain of events that has ramifications for multiple generations.

Gemma Willing is excellent in the starring role as the wild and free-spirited Catherine and in the second act she plays this formidable woman’s young daughter. As children, Catherine and Heathcliff (played by Ross Balbuziente who does a fantastic job, especially when playing the adult version of this character) were once inseparable friends. They would also become lovers until Catherine meets her neighbours from Thrushcross Grange, Edgar Linton (Tim Dashwood who seems a touch too feminine and almost camp) and his sister Isabella (Nelle Lee who juggles multiple roles quite seamlessly).

The meeting between Catherine and the Lintons will leave her a changed woman. She loses her youthful innocence and wild ways and instead becomes a stately and elegant young woman. She accepts Linton’s marriage proposal and rejects Heathcliff’s advances despite her heart telling her to do the opposite. Catherine is punished for this both emotionally and spiritually and descends into madness while Heathcliff is incensed and vows to exact revenge, even if he has to bide his time for multiple decades.

This adaptation is faithful to Brontë’s original tale because it shows both Heathcliff and Catherine’s relationship as well as the impact of this disturbed love affair on the next generation. The actors each put in some great performances and offer subtler turns when they are playing the younger generation of children whereas more intense and visceral emotions are required for the older ones. Some of the actors play multiple roles across time but the exception to this is the pragmatic narrator Nelly Dean (Linden Wilkinson who had a hard job remembering so many lines and sometimes forgot these) and the dark and villainous Heathcliff. These two are integral to the story and really carry it.

The set is minimal but it works because it is able to double as two different manor houses as well as offer the backdrop for the treacherous moors, complete with life-like rain, thunder and lightning. Some musical motifs are repeated as the scenes change and this adds a certain neatness to the structure, especially when considering that it is such a dense and sprawling story. This adaptation also uses large video projections that really showcase the heightened emotions of the characters and their extinguished flames as they pass away. This is one sumptuous visual feast to say the least.

It is unfortunate that the set also let down the actors on at least a few occasions. There are times when the characters stood behind a shrouded curtain at the back and while this added extra mystery to the piece, it did make it difficult to hear and understand them at times. The first act was also a bit too long and while it ended with Catherine’s death, it felt a little anti-climactic with Dean finishing things by mentioning that there was something contained in a note. Thankfully the actual end of the play reached a more rousing crescendo.

Wuthering Heights is a dark and slow-burning play that sits on the knife edge of love, loss, betrayal, jealousy and revenge. It’s one complex and visceral story of a destructive and disturbing love that would shake a family to its core and be felt by the following generation. shake & stir theatre co.’s adaptation remains true to the classic tale while also offering a welcome modern slant that effectively captures the heady and human emotions of the original narrative. In short, it makes it all feel rather intense and real for a whole new generation of audiences.

Originally published on 24 March 2016 at the following website: http://arts.theaureview.com/reviews/theatre-review-wuthering-heights-riverside-theatre-parramatta-22-03-16/

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INTERVIEW: NICK SKUBIJ FROM SHAKE & STIR THEATRE CO ABOUT WUTHERING HEIGHTS

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Emily Brontë’s classic novel, Wuthering Heights has inspired many different adaptions and other art forms since its initial publication in 1847. It has inspired everything from a Kate Bush song to a Hindi movie and a Death Cab for Cutie track, to name a few. Australia’s very own, shake & stir theatre co will also be staging their own adaptation of this gothic love story in a production that promises to be both broody and faithful to the original source material. The AU Review sat down with Nick Skubij, the adaptor and director of this adaption of Wuthering Heights to learn more about Heathcliff and Cathy’s turbulent relationship.

Can you briefly introduce yourself? How long have you been working in the arts industry?

I’m Nick Skubij – I’m the Co-Artistic Director of shake & stir theatre co and the adaptor and director of Wuthering Heights. I have been working in the industry for approx. 15 years as an actor, producer, director and writer.

Can you briefly describe your adaptation of Wuthering Heights?

My adaptation of Wuthering Heights is a (relatively) faithful, distilled version of the entire novel. Unlike a couple of adaptations out there, I have chosen to present the whole story, not just the first generation. My production is sharp, strange, terrifying, romantic and beautiful – just like the novel.

Wuthering Heights is an adaptation of Emily Brontë’s gothic novel. Do you have a favourite quote or scene from the book?

My favourite quote from the play belongs to Heathcliff and comes at the end of act one. He states “You said I killed you—haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murderers, I believe. I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!”. It sums up the all-consuming nature of love lost perfectly and oh so dramatically.

In your opinion, how true is your adaptation of Wuthering Heights compared to the novel?

I aimed for my adaptation to be true to the original novel but not slavishly so. I think that you can’t really present an adapted work which is a 100% extraction of the source material – there needs to be some sort of treatment to give it a unique voice. I hope that it gets the tick of approval from the purists but contains certain unexpected moments that surprise.

Who is your favourite character from Wuthering Heights? Why did you choose this one?

My favourite character is our Narrator, Nelly Dean. I find her role in the whole story fascinating. She reminds me of a ringmaster in a human circus, pulling the strings and guiding the audience through her version of events. I think that a lot of people would consider that Heathcliff is the villain of the story but what about Nelly? Maybe the real devil wears a housemaid’s outfit…

Why do you think audiences should come and see your adaptation of Wuthering Heights?

If audiences want to see some fantastic actors, a great story and some absolutely stunning technical moments, they should definitely come and see this production. shake & stir has developed a national audience who have come to expect ultra-high production values and this one raises the bar. Of course, anyone who has ever loved with every atom of their being might find a bit to relate to…

Do you have a favourite scene in the production? What’s it about and why did you choose this one?

I really like the end of act two. This is where we pull out all the stops theatrically and where we finally find out why Heathcliff has acted the way he has. I think it is a really nice and surprising moment for Heathcliff – we should think twice about what we thought of him throughout the story.

The novel, Wuthering Heights has inspired everything from a Kate Bush song to a Hindi movie and a Death Cab for Cutie track, to name a few. Can you name your favourite adaptation of this work or a work that was inspired by the book? Why did you pick this one?

I like the 2011 film adaptation by Andrea Arnold for its moody capture of the environment. This adaptation is not very text heavy but it shows the mood of the piece brutally and beautifully though close up extended shots of the characters being battered by the elements.

The show features Ross Balbuziente, Tim Dashwood, Nelle Lee, Linden Wilkinson, Gemma Willing and yourself. How did the actors prepare for their roles?

I think actors prep is very personal and each actor has their own methods. One thing I insisted on in the rehearsal room was to speak the language in a way that each actor could relate to on a personal level. I wanted to avoid put-on accents and over-annunciation and for the actors to bring their own personalities and real truth to their characters.

Originally published on 17 March 2016 at the following website: http://arts.theaureview.com/interviews/the-au-interview-director-nick-skubij-talks-about-lost-love-and-a-new-adaptation-of-emily-brontes-classic-wuthering-heights/

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