|Pamela Rabe, Zahra Newman, Hugo Weaving|
Photo: Hon Boey
Reviewed by Frank McKone
Production photos by Daniel Boud
Nothing is out of place theatrically in this billionaire’s expansive mansion, except the family within, lost in the forces of jealousy, lust, frustration and retribution. Though a sociologist might write an erudite essay on the social and economic causes in the nature of capitalism, this playing out of ‘a synthesis of all my life’, as Williams wrote, becomes a lived experience for us, watching from the safety of our theatre seats.
The design of the staging seems to have given the actors freedom of action, expression and feeling to match the magnificent space.
Zarah Newman’s Act One performance is almost beyond belief as Maggie – the cat on that terribly hot tin roof, where to stop for even a fraction of a second would be to be destroyed.
From even a simple acting-skills point of view, let alone accuracy of characterisation, Harry Greenwood’s manipulation of his body, balancing on one leg, wielding his crutch not so much as a support but as a weapon, becomes a horrifying representation of his psychological state.
I could give examples of every actor’s particular wonderful achievements, especially including the antics of the children (and the directing of such young ones), but will focus on Hugo Weaving’s voice. Even Big Daddy could not physically fill the empty reaches of the space, yet his voice in anger was as frightening as the explosions of the fireworks to celebrate his birthday; while when weak in sorrow or confusion, the sound of Weaving’s voice carried his mood all around and off the stage, into our minds and even our hearts. A great performance, indeed.
This is a modern production of a great American play which I’m fortunate not to have missed. I hope it will go on tour, especially to Tennessee Williams’ homeland. America needs to learn now as much as in the 1950s from its great artists; as we do here and all around the world, through the honesty and truth-telling of such writers, producers, directors, designers and actors.
|Zahra Newman and Harry Greenwood|
as Maggie and Brick
|Harry Greenwood and Zahra Newman|
as Brick and Maggie
|Children: Buster, Dixie, Polly, Sonny with|
Peter Carroll, Anthony Brandon Wong, Josh McConville and Hugo Weaving
as Reverend Tooker, Doctor Baugh, Gooper, and Big Daddy
|Zahra Newman and Hugo Weaving|
as Maggie and Big Daddy
|Harry Greenwood and Pamela Rabe|
as Brick and Big Mama