Phil Johnson in "Withering Heights" Photo courtesy of The Roustabouts
Let Emily Bronte spin in her grave. Phil Johnson and Omri Schein’s two-man spoof Withering Heights is a helluva lot more entertaining than Bronte’s one and only 19th-century novel. Johnson is a co-founder of the fledgling Roustabouts company that is presenting Withering Heights on Diversionary Theatre’s stage, In this exercise in inspired silliness, he and Schein do quick-change duty as Bronte’s Gothic characters, including, of course, star-crossed lovers Catherine (Schein) and Heathcliff (Johnson). The North Coast Rep’s David Ellenstein directs the swiftly paced antics, which sometimes descend into flatulence humor but in large part demonstrate Johnson and Schein’s cleverness at parodying Bronte’s melodramatic story. What might be tedious in lesser hands is giddily sustainable for an hour and 20 minutes. Try getting through the novel in that time. Try getting through the first chapter in that time. (Review originally published in San Diego CityBeat on 6/28/17)
David L. Coddon is a Southern California theater critic.