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Bronte

Date

21st February 2018

Society

Preston Drama Club

Venue

Preston Playhouse

Type of Production

Play

Director

Rachel Cottle

Report

Author: Eddie Regan

Bronte- Preston Drama Club- 21.2.2018

 

This drama by Polly Teale, an award winning writer and director, was a new play to me and I was looking forward to this Production by Preston Drama Club.

The piece opened to portray a rehearsal room where three actors proceeded to finish dressing the set. This intriguing start certainly captured our attention and with the sound of Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush, as background music, the action commenced, as the room became the Howarth Parsonage and the three Bronte sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne began their story.

We were gripped throughout the evening as this fascinating story unfolded and the juxtaposition of fact and fiction became evident.

This absorbing story of the Brontes whose lives were a world away from their fictitious characters was sensitively directed by Rachel Cottle who brought out the best from her six cast members. We were encouraged to question how three sisters and one brother, living on the isolated Yorkshire Moors were able to write about subjects that were worlds away from their own lives. Within the play, their fictional characters came to haunt them as the action moved from the schoolroom to the Yorkshire Moors.

The standard of performance from every actor on stage was outstanding, as their lives intertwined. The writer had indicated that casting some members in more than one role was her desire and there were strong performances by Josh Powlesland as Bramwell Bronte whose life became so different from his sisters. He also showed his versatility as both the drunken Arthur Huntingdon and the fictional Heathcliffe.

Geoff Finn as their domineering but passionate, well-educated father who taught his daughters to read and write was convincing in his role. He also played the contrasting roles of Rochester and the curate Arthur Bell Nicholls. Catherine Hughes as Charlotte, Rachel Pitches as Emily and Debra Taylor as Anne gave powerful and emotional performances and all three were completely immersed in their roles.

The well constructed and dressed set was a perfect backdrop for those on stage and Lighting and Sound created the correct atmosphere for the piece.Costumes, accessories, hairstyles and makeup had all been well researched. I really enjoyed the incidental music chosen. I am always impressed with attention to these details.

I am not afraid to say that I felt quite emotional as the play progressed and I left for home feeling I had seem something very special.

Thank you again for a very warm welcome.