Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" - Free Rain Theatre - Courtyard Studio - 30.10.09 - 14.11.09

Its been a long while since I've seen a production of Tennessee Williams' steamy play about a deeply dysfunctional Southern American family, or indeed the film, which famously starred Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman. But this production is very good indeed, and I found myself transfixed from beginning to end, both by the play, and its presentation.
Played out on a languorous, airy setting, designed by Cate Clelland, Jordan Bests' direction is close to impeccable, perfectly paced and carefully detailed, with, most importantly, careful attention to her actor's accents.
The cast is first rate, particularly Jenna Roberts as Maggie, the cat. Not only beautiful to look act, and with a lovely sense of line, Jenna is also a very fine actor, and her Maggie is a wonderfully nuanced creation.
As her alcoholic husband, Rick, newcomer Alexander Marks is also very impressive. Their opening scene together is absolutely gripping. His performance will become even stronger once he curbs his tendency to shout.
Tony Turner gives a powerful performance, playing against type, as Big Daddy. His Act Two scene with Brick is alone worth the price of admission. Liz Bradley gives one of her best performances to date, and if you know Liz's work, that is high praise indeed.
Cameron Thomas, as the younger son, Gooper, and Michelle Cooper as his wife-from-hell, Mae, both offer well-rounded, thoughtful performances. Wayne Shepherd and Darren Cullerne, who round out the cast, both prove the old adage "there is no such thing as a small part ........."

Bill Stephens. "Dress Circle" Artsound Fm 92.7, Sunday 08.11.09