Calvit’s new adaptation of this gothic romance–cum–multigenerational revenge story is an achievement of emotional force and narrative clarity, though it falls short of doing justice to the doomed love affair at its heart. Alan Donahue’s set organically marries constrained interior spaces with outdoor wildness, serving as a visual representation of the forces that vie for the heart of heroine Catherine Earnshaw. In love with her brutish foster brother, Heathcliff, but attracted to the social status of upper-crust admirer Edgar Linton, Catherine chooses status, spurring Heathcliff to pursue a vengeance that stretches across 20 years.
Brontë’s tale is a melodrama of the impassioned-journeys-across-foggy-moors variety, but there’s nothing overripe in Lindsay Leopold’s and Gregory Isaac’s convincing portrayals of the self-destructive lovers. Cameron Feagin is excellent as long-suffering nursemaid Nelly Dean, and Sarah Goeden’s lovely face expresses volumes in her role as Isabella, the defenseless confection destroyed by a loveless marriage to Heathcliff. Director Kauzlaric’s eerie, often dreamlike staging suits the shape of the narrative, which folds the story of the central characters and that of their manipulated offspring into each other. Calvit displays a keen sense of balance, but few would complain if she made room for a deeper exploration of the passion between the story’s lavishly unbalanced principals.