Queensland Performing Arts Centre
shake & stir theatre co and QPAC presentWUTHERING HEIGHTSby Emily Brontë created & adapted by shake & stir theatre coLove is a dirty word.
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Wuthering Heights

Venue Cremorne Theatre, QPAC
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Dates 1 to 18 Oct 2014

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shake & stir theatre co and QPAC present
by Emily Brontë
created & adapted by shake & stir theatre co

Love is a dirty word.

Brontë's gothic masterpiece storms into QPAC in a new adaptation from the company behind the critically acclaimed productions of George Orwell's Animal Farm and 1984.

When Heathcliff, a mysterious boy is rescued from the street and brought to Wuthering Heights, he develops a passionate bond with Cathy Earnshaw and a repulsive distrust of her brother Hindley. As time passes, Heathcliff and Cathy's relationship deepens to the point of dangerous obsession, until one day, Cathy marries another man. Overcome with jealousy, Heathcliff flees the Heights only to return, years later, ready to exact revenge on those he believed ruined his one chance at happiness.

Featuring a breathtaking design and a stellar cast including Australian star of stage and screen Gerry Connolly, shake & stir invites you to drop by the Heights and settle in for this classic story, retold.

Adaptor & Director Nick Skubij
Costume Designer Leigh Buchanan
Set Designer Josh McIntosh
Lighting Designer Jason Glenwright
Sound Designer Guy Webster
Projection Designers optikal bloc

Cast Includes Ross Balbuziente, Julian Curtis, Nelle Lee, Anthony Standish, Melanie Zanetti and Gerry Connolly

By Bram Stoker
Created & adapted by shake & stir theatre co

12 to 29 August 2015
The Gothic horror sweeps into QPAC for a gripping world premiere production created by shake & stir.

Reviews from shake & stir theatre co's National Tour of 1984

"Shake & stir theatre co cement themselves as masters of adaption. 1984 is a hard-hitting piece of theatre that brings everything to the table and delivers. shake & stir theatre co should be commended on another fantastic adaption." Australian Stage Online

"It's polished to brilliance. The ensemble of actors are stunning. A must see." Greenroom

"I recommend it wholeheartedly, if you can get seats for this final season." Stage Whispers

"You shouldn't miss it! This is a powerful production. It will stay with me just as did the book when I read it so many years ago."
NSW Stage Whispers

"This production is superb and I can't recommend it highly enough." ACT Stage Whispers

"The detail and commitment of the performances, as well as the meticulous mounting of the production is nothing less than astonishing." Canberra Critics Circle

"An impressive adaptation… shake & stir sets the bar high."
The Canberra Times

"shake & stir's ability to bring classic, world changing literature to the main stage is double-plus awesome. It's rare to see a book adaptation that feels whole and complete in its own right." Aussie Theatre

"Their adaptations of classic texts are done with innovation, soul and meticulous care."
The Courier-Mail

"Wonderful, wonderful production... Everyone gives 110% - I just loved it!"
612ABC Radio, Doug Kennedy

"This is a flawless production, with flawless performances from the cast of five. In fact, I couldn't fault anything about it."
A Little Gossip, Allison Coates

"shake & stir have done a stunning job realizing this work for the stage... This show gets into your head... This is Brisbane's theatre at its finest." Theatre People

Gerry ConnollyGerry Connolly

Gerry Connolly is an accomplished Australian comedian, actor, impressionist and pianist best known for his satirical caricatures of public figures: Royalty, politicians and the like.

Over the years, Gerry has turned his talent for mimicry into hit one-man stage shows including Men and Women of Australia, I CONnolly, Gerrymader Joh and the Last Crusade, Different Things, and Pianomaniac. He is widely acclaimed across Australia and has had great success at the Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide Comedy Festivals, as well as at the Edinburgh Festival in the UK.

His shows also earned him The Wallace Comedian of the Year Award in 1986. The popularity of his theatre shows landed Gerry his own 6-part show on the ABC, The Gerry Connolly Show in 1988. From there he became a semi-regular cast member and writer on the popular sketch comedy show Fast Forward during the early 90s, where he once again got to show case his versatility and comedic wit.

In 1993, Connolly featured in a dramatic role portraying former Queensland premier Joh Bjelke Peterson in the ABC telemovie Joh’s Jury. Some of Gerry’s other TV appearances include the Spicks and Specks 100th Episode, a guest role as ‘Merill Streep’ on Kath & Kim and the ongoing role of Headmaster Griffin in ABC1’s Dead Gorgeous.

Most recently Gerry filmed the role of Reginald Valpy in the ABC telemovie Mystery of a Hansom Cab. Gerry has also made a few film appearances including cameos in The Wog Boy, The Magic Pudding and Over the Hill as well as the role of Lou Rickets in the Australian family film The Real Macaw. On Stage, Connolly has forged a successful career, often working with the Melbourne Theatre Company, Sydney Theatre Company and Belvoir St Theatre. Highlights include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, the national tour of Pirates of Penzance from 2001-2003, the Sydney and Melbourne seasons of Urinetown, Tomfoolery and the Melbourne Theatre Company’s 1999 production of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, which earned him a nomination for a Green Room Award for Best Supporting Actor. Gerry also won the 2005 Mo Award for Best Comedy Performer.

In 2012, Gerry performed as The Queen in La Soiree at the Sydney Opera House, La Clique Royal at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and then in September he was the Associate Artiste in Richard Tognetti’s Everything with the Australian Chamber Orchestra at Festival Maribor in Slovenia. Gerry has a Bachelor or Music from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, and has performed with the Melbourne, Queensland and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras.

Suitability: Grade 10 - 12 audience. Coarse language, sexual themes 
Duration: 2 hours 20mins (including interval)
+ 10 min Q&A with cast directly following 10am and 6.30pm performances

Curriculum Connections: 

  • Australian Gothic Theatre
  • Transformation of a classic text
  • Heightened/Magical Realism
  • Ensemble Theatre
  • Convergent Forms
  • Gender Representations


  • Discrimination
  • Power/Corruption
  • Love/Passion
  • Injustice/Prejudice
  • Social Class
  • Gender roles
  • Nature VS Nurture

Subject Connections:

shake & stir's WUTHERING HEIGHTS, a brand new stage adaptation, will deepen students' understanding of the novel and offer them new insight into the text. Students can compare and contrast the text and play, exploring how the themes and issues presented in the original are still highly relevant for a 21st Century audience. Alternatively, the production can be used an example of Australian Gothic Theatre where no prior understanding of WUTHERING HEIGHTS is necessary.

Possible Assessment:

Expository: analytical exposition based on prevalent themes; critical review for a magazine/newspaper; panel discussion regarding characters' guilt/innocence. 
Persuasive: argumentative essay; persuasive speech; pitch for another classic to be adapted for the stage; discursive forum. 
Reflective: personal narrative based on a theme presented on stage; writing in role; character testimonial, memoir. 
Imaginative: thematic poetry; monologue; dramatic recreation of a chapter/theme/issue.

For drama students this play offers many possibilities: showing students how a text can be transformed for the stage; performance styles of Australian Gothic Theatre and Ensemble acting; set design; use of integrated A/V, lighting and sound design; use of space; manipulation of the elements of performance/drama.

Possible Assessment:

Forming: Scriptwriting stimulus; directing styles; character development for improvisation; dramatic treatment. Presenting: Scripted polished performance; student devised drama using themes from the play as a pre-text.
Responding: Responding to live theatre; critical review for a magazine/newspaper; analytical essay exploring the purpose of adapting text to stage; performance analysis oral. 

This production comes with a comprehensive Teachers' Resource Kit & Dramatic Elements compiled by shake & stir's Education Manager, Naomi Russell. The kit includes curriculum connections, pre and post show class discussions and activities and extra insight into the production specifically for teachers and students.

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11:04 PM - 16/10/2014
By Donna Lewis
Another GREAT show from Shake n Stir..
Loved it
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9:29 PM - 15/10/2014
By Courtney
Saw it on the Sunday at 3:00pm the first week it came out. First show i've ever seen live was 1984 and i was obsessed. Not to mention they got me into reading, read the book 1984 and loved it! (thanks shake and stir!) They were advertising wuthering heights and my mum read that years back so we were keen to see it. Wow. I thought 1984 was good. This production was amazing. From the set to sound to lighting! it was brilliant! all actors were amazing, loved Ross! Melanie Zanetti was perfect part for Catherine. I've read a few negative comments toward this production. I guess we all have different taste, although this is shake and stir adaption. It's not going to be spot on with the book. Also, seeing people be disappointed in the jokes saddens me. This show brought me happiness and sadness and thats what i love. I can admit, Gerry Connolly could have been better but my mum loved him! Shake and stir, thank you so much for the amazing adaption and i will see you for dracula 2015!
Another outstanding production from Shake and Stir
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11:36 AM - 15/10/2014
By Mark Davies
Caught this show last night (Tuesday) - WOW! Loved the use of AV and the subtle updating of the text. I studied this book in highschool and it bored me to tears - watching last night with about 100 high school students and this was certainly not the case. The rapturous applause and standing ovation at the end were rightly deserved - brilliant efforts by all.
Emily Bronte's Classic? Not the novel I know and love
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6:10 PM - 10/10/2014
By Jennifer Robinson
I so want to give this a 5 star review - and I will for lighting, effects, broodiness, capturing the darkness of the story and for the poignant and often explosive emotion and perfect delivery by the two leads - Melanie Zanetti in the dual roles of Catherine and Cathy and Ross Balbuziente as Heathcliff. I’ve seen Melanie in both Pygmalion and Romeo and Juliet and today she lived up to her usual fine performance. The other players, except for one, did a wonderful job, too – no fluffing of lines or miscues. All of these elements and actors were outstanding and I would love to applaud them with a standing ovation. But sadly, that's where my applause stops. If not for those aspects, I would only be able to give it a 1 star review. Why on earth Gerry Connolly was cast as a FEMALE in the biggest role of all - narrator and the nanny/maid Nelly - I cannot understand at all. The casting crew had a huge talented female pool to choose from but instead they chose a man - albeit a well-known actor - but unfortunately he kept forgetting his lines, and more importantly mixing up everyone's names, as well as his spots and because he kept forgetting characters' name he would slow down or even pause for a few seconds before uttering any of them to make sure he had the right one. I can say the one good thing he brought to the stage was his piano playing. The language too was a big letdown as it was nothing like the book or even the era – often modern day very strong swearing and 21st century phrasing in a lot of places and even a bit of comedy thrown in throughout – one as a spoof on the fact of a man playing a woman which really pulled the novel’s beautiful content down. All in all, I can only review it as a very big disappointment for the language which should have been heartfelt. Some of the monologues were fantastic and very well delivered but trying to make the nanny/narrator into a comedic role spoilt the entire play. I'm sure Emily Bronte would be disappointed to see her novel relegated to wanting to please the masses rather than staying true to her ideal. There were several school groups in when I was in the audience and they seemed to be the only ones laughing at the comedic twists – the rest of us who obviously knew the novel well sat stony-faced. The effects were amazing though - lighting, 'real' rain falling on the stage - and large droplets even splashing on those in the front row who were quite surprised to find themselves part of the props - and huge fans blowing on the audience so you really felt you were in the middle of a storm on the windswept moors. The lighting was brilliant too – setting the mood perfectly. I could only give high praise to those behind the scenes and the two leads and other minor roles. Some of the costumes were more modern, while others of the period. It was quite a mish-mash for someone who loves the novel and expected to be taken into 19th century England rather than the imagination of a 21st century script writer. I’ve never been in a play/musical/show with such a small smattering of applause both at the interval and at the end. It was obvious the audience wasn’t impressed. In future, when putting on one of the classics, please keep the language and content true to the era, unless you are actually trying to bring it into this day and age – and if you do, please forewarn us so the audience is prepared to see something quite different from what they’re expecting.
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12:45 PM - 9/10/2014
By Sam P
A stunning looking production performed with passion and great skill by the talented cast of 6. Not an easy night at the theatre, but well worth trying to find a ticket to see this classic reimagined! It surprises me that some reviews mention the show is funny - with the exception of a couple of well places lines, it is certainly not funny. Quite the opposite - take your tissues - you'll need them at the end of act one! Well done to all involved.
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2:20 PM - 7/10/2014
By donna
I wonder if i was watching the same play when I read the comments above. Though some of the actors were really fantastic, I found that the swearing in it was unnecessary why people thought the swearing was funny was beyond me. I costume change in between the acts would have been nice as well.
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1:22 PM - 7/10/2014
By Anthony Grasso
I went along to this show not really knowing what to expect. I had seen the posters and the banner on QPAC - the picture of a man in a dress (who I later found out was Gerry Connolly, as in, the QUEEN from Fast Forward) and two attractive younger people who I assumed were playing two lovers and was impressed by the dark, quirky nature of the imagery. When I took my seat in the theatre and started listening to the drone of the wind, I began to feel pretty uncomforatble and hoped I hadn't made a big mistake - ESPECIALLY when I found out it was over two hours long. But from the first moment that the lights went to black until the last moments of the second act (which literally made my mouth gape open in awe) I sat totally glued to the edge of my seat as the SERIOUSLY messed up story unfolded on stage. All the cast were brilliant - even though Gerry seemed to at times be reaching for a line or two (or maybe this was a choice as he was playing a dottery old housemaid) the other cast members never faultered. I loved the guy with the beard. And the lights. And the projection. And the sound. And the effects. It blew me away. I would never have believed that a play could make me feel all these things. I was warned before I went that the story was really depressing, but I loved that there were funny moments in it and then suddenly turned dark. Don't think - get a ticket (although I just tried to buy two more for my Mother and Father and couldn't find two together on any night). Awesome.
Just finished the book - and loved the play!
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6:02 PM - 6/10/2014
By Jane
I really enjoyed this show. My friends and I went along on Saturday night and thoroughly enjoyed it. We had just read the book for our Book Club (I had also studied it in high-school). The adaptation was perfect, it made me really feel for, and understand the characters. When reading the book I had mixed feelings about Heathcliff - he divided our Book Club!! But on stage - Ross Balbuziante was just brilliant. He captured the brooding mystery of Heathcliff so well. The whole company definitely deserved the standing ovation they received at the end (us included!).
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9:23 PM - 5/10/2014
By Tim
Congratulations to everyone involved - it was breathtaking. I want to see it again!
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11:56 AM - 5/10/2014
By Melinda
Saw this production last night and I am still thinking about how fantastic it was. Every actor and every element (lights, sound, costumes, visuals) blended beautifully to create a magic evening at the theatre. Highly recommend.

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