The Scottish Mail on Sunday - 2021-11-21



Deborah Ross

Robert Gore-Langton

Forget Colin Firth and his wet shirt in the BBC Pride And Prejudice. This show comes with an allfemale cast and bags of attitude in a version of the love story that’s part Jane Austen, part karaoke night. Isobel McArthur’s feminist revamp kicks off with downstairs servants in Marigolds. They then enact the plot of the people they’re slaving for. Meghan Tyler (far right) is a very Northern Irish Elizabeth Bennet. She’s dead stroppy, eats Frosties and swears like a trooper – as you would if you were forced to marry any old bore with money. Her romance with Mr Darcy is played out nicely, the latter with staid reserve by McArthur herself (right, with accordion). The formidable Lady Catherine de Bourgh sings Lady In Red by her (sort of) relative Chris de Burgh. Mrs Bennet is in your face, while Mr Bennet is invisibly parked behind a newspaper in a chair. Dispensing with male actors, BBC politeness or any sense of decorum, the show gets away with it because it beams with such a charming love of the novel. You could say the same of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, which gets a makeover in Emma Rice’s wild and woolly production. The action – which needs trimming – takes place under leaden skies. The show features Rice’s DIY style, including puppets, props and a multitasking cast. Moments of farce (generated by the brilliant Katy Owen) pop up amid the brooding revenge and passion. Ash Hunter is the abusive Heathcliff, and Lucy McCormick gives a rockdiva performance as Catherine. Kate Bush would love it.


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