THEATRE SPOTLIGHT: CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF
The autumn season at the Curve, Leicester, is well and truly under way, it’s great to be amidst the theatre scene and what better way than to be treated to a Tennessee Williams classic.
Disclosure: I received a press invite to experience ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’. All opinions and views are my own and along with non-production photography remain a copyright of be-lavie.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is intense, powerfully emotional rollercoaster of laughter, sadness and the bleak reality exposing the crux of Maggie and Bricks marriage.
Directed by Anthony Almeida, as a consequence of winning one of the country’s most prestigious awards for up-and-coming director’s, RTST: Sir Peter Hall Director Award, the play showcases the talent of Almeida taking the 1955 classic from book to stage.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a Curve, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse and English Touring Theatre (ETT) co-production, supported by grant funding from the Royal Theatrical Support Trust (RTST).
The featured cast boasts an impressive line-up with note-worthy theatre, television and film roles with each capturing the essence of their characters meticulously.
The staging was simple yet effective with much of the scenes set around a central chamber surrounded by a sheer curtain, which poses as a building up and tearing down, synonymous to elements in the storyline.
When Tennessee Williams wrote the book, he was not seeing a classic but about dilemmas we face with ourselves, our families, and situations. It’s almost as if whilst watching, the audience can see relatable reality in themselves, their partners, friends and parents.
After Brick (Oliver Johnstone – All my sons, Endeavor, Skyfall) injures himself whilst drunkenly revisiting his high school sports star days, he and his wife, Maggie (Siena Kelly-Hit and Run, Vanity Fair, 2021 BAFTA Best Supporting Actress) visit his familiy’s Mississippi plantation for the 65th Birthday party of his pretty hot-tempered father, Big Daddy (Poldark, EastEnders, The Wife). Even with his declining health, Big Daddy is certain he has to get to the bottom of why Brick and Maggie haven’t bore him grand-children like Brick’s brother Gooper (Sam Alexander- The Outsider, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Far From the Madding Crowd) and his fertile wife, Mae (Shanaya Rafaat – Romeo & Juliet, Goldfish, Doctors).
The story also includes Brick’s mother, Big Momma (Teresa Banham – Acceptance, The Crown, Military Wives Choir), Doctor Baugh (Suzette Llewellyn – Twelfth Night, EastEnders, founder of theatre troupe BiBi Crew), Reverend Tooker (Minal Patel – theatre credits including The three Musketeers, In the Secret Garden, As you Like It) and five of Mae and Gooper’s children played by children from the Youth Company.
Digging into the play deeper, the storyline captures, the lack of warmth, love between each character and leaves you wanting to dig further into their lives beyond the boundaries of the production.
One of the most gripping performances I’ve seen on stage but special accolades have to go to Brick, Maggie and Big Daddy for their convincing and outstanding representation of the characters and their intricacies. The chemistry between Maggie and Brick’s relationship showcases the heart-break of someone who needs help and another who wants to support but doesn’t know how to.
A narrative of anger, resentment, pain, love and revelations.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is running at Curve until 18 September 2021
- Address: The Curve. Alexandra House, 60 Rutland St, Leicester LE1 1SB
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- Website: Curve Theatre.
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