Based in 1950’s Mississippi, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is the destructive story by Tennessee Williams predominantly set between married couple Maggie (Sienna Kelly) and Brick (Oliver Johnstone) while attending his father’s (Peter Forbes) 65th birthday party. However, all is not as it appears between the rest of the couples.
The five child actors open the play by screaming in a high pitched shrill that made me wince. This set the scene for how the boys act throughout the play and let you empathise with some of the other adults who are irritated by them throughout the performance and find their presence becomes unbearable.
Maggie’s passionate plea to husband Brick to love her again or at least sleep with her is an extremely long dialogue. Kelly’s performance is outstanding and for an actor to hold the stage and captivate the audience in a word-perfect scene was incredibly moving. A talented actor to watch out for with a very promising future.
Surrounded by the family and taunted by the five “no necks”, the nickname Maggie has given Brick’s nephews. Privacy for anyone there is limited despite them being located on a twenty-eight thousand-kilometre farm and the high toxic energy floods throughout the stage and bursts through the dialogue with family frustrations and deep-rooted emotional injustices are aired for all to see.
The fantastic production photographs seen in the review by Marc Brenner are a just small sample of the dramatic effects created by lighting designer Joshua Gadsby, bringing the entire stage to life alongside the cast.
We learned afterwards at the Q&A session that director Anthony Almeida auditioned everyone separately and wouldn’t disclose who the partners would be to any of the cast. Almeida knew who he wanted to act alongside each partner. From watching tonight’s performance he made some excellent choices. The chemistry between Maggie and Brick was exhaustingly powerful to watch.
The companies tour ends at the Mast in Southampton. They are performing for two more nights. Please check out the links below for booking details and information about the Theatre company.
Photo credit Marc Brenner