UKTW - 25 years online

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

3
English Touring Theatre production seen in Southampton.
By Martha

Tennessee Williams had few successful plays, and Cat on a Hot Tin roof made the cut. Focused on family life on a Southern plantation, the play explores the idea of helplessness in trying to help and frustrating communication.

The English Touring Theatre Company, in collaboration with the Everyman Theatre Liverpool have done a good job at capturing the intensity of a family straining for power with this play. The tension is held nicely throughout the play with the use of sound - a track plays, with plucked strings indicating the passing of time. After the interval, this track was reversed to give a recap - a delicate way to direct audience perception. Sound was craftily used in the production with few, but effective, external interjections to the actors’ spoken work, mostly in the latter part of the play.

The cast definitely dominated the space and story, with voices balanced well and easy to hear in the auditorium. Peter Forbes’ ‘Big Daddy’ put forward a dominating force without shouting to breathlessness, Siena Kelly’s Maggie showed emotions impeccably through face, body and voice too. No wonder she is a 2021 BAFTA nominee. Forbes and Kelly really stole the show in my opinion, creating such strong focal points, and representing each of the play’s diverging storylines. I commend also Oliver Johnstone’s Brick, who believably and consistently sold us the story of his drunkenness without compromising his lines. All of this work created for a strong and easy to follow storyline, not to mention excellently elocuted American accents which were largely steady. Big Mama (Teresa Banham) also did a wonderfully believable job of showing us a mother and wife in crisis - both internally and externally.

The theme of communication in the play was realised multiply. The subtle blocking of the space left attention focused largely on speech, and the intimacy of the body language during conversation gave a voyeuristic feel. The ‘telephone calls’ to Sarah I originally found a little confusing, with boundaries between characters’ interactions somewhat unclear. However both of these aspects; the voyeurism and cacophony of noise (overlapping, chaotic voices were also used more explicitly), in retrospect completely added to the effect of the play. ‘The walls in this house have walls’ - we too are listening in just as Mas and Gooper do; everything is audible and inescapable. There is an involuntary transparency/openness to communication in the ‘house’.

This is further accentuated by an ambiguous performance space. A veil is used to separate Maggie and Brick at times, which they weave in, out and around - it comes between their marriage. Other than this, only a table and a few bottles and cups are used as props. Keeping things minimal on set focussed our attention on dialogue and showcased the talented acting going on.

However I sometimes felt the production value was a little lacklustre - it could have done more to uplift the people on stage, for example the shock of the interval reminded us that in family matters such as these, there is no natural break, and the crescendo of fireworks towards the end was also very effective.

Overall, ETT’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the MAST was composed of some beautifully talented actors, who were sometimes not highlighted as well as I’d have hoped by the production of the piece. I would also have liked a less subtle nod to queer struggle in the play, reminiscent of Williams' own life - I felt this production focussed more on Big Daddy than that key autobiographical insert from the writer. Overall though, I enjoyed this production and would return to see more from English Touring Theatre!

Martha Luke


 
LTD Ticket Vouchers
 

Find us on-line

Facebook
SeatChoice/UKTW page
Twitter
SeatChoice/UKTW tweets
Linked-In
UKTW company page and Robert Iles
Blog/Website
SeatChoice and Robert's personal


 

Latest News & Reviews

24th Nov 21 :: Review: Rumi: The Musical
Seen at the London Coliseum
3
23rd Nov 21 :: Review: Hairspray
Touring production seen at the Bristol Hippodrome
5
22nd Nov 21 :: Review: The Life of Pi
Seen at the Wyndhams Theatre
5
19th Nov 21 :: Review: La Clique
Returning to Leicester Square for the Christmas season.
5
17th Nov 21 :: Review: Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker!
2021 Touring production seen in Plymouth
5
13th Nov 21 :: Review: Macbeth
Bristol Old Vic Theatre School production
3
11th Nov 21 :: Review: Dick Whittington: A New Dick in Town
Above the Stag's panto
5
10th Nov 21 :: Review: Heathers
Touring production seen in Bristol.
5
2nd Nov 21 :: Review: White Christmas
Touring production seen at the Bristol Hippodrome
4
1st Nov 21 :: Review: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
English Touring Theatre production seen in Southampton.
3
30th Oct 21 :: Review: Constellations
Donmar Warehouse production watched on-demand
5
28th Oct 21 :: Review: Romeo and Juliet
Birmingham Royal Ballet production seen in Plymouth.
5
22nd Oct 21 :: Review: Everybody's Talking About Jamie
Touring production seen in Bristol
4
21st Oct 21 :: Review: Wuthering Heights
Emma Rice's adaptation seen at the Bristol Old Vic
4
20th Oct 21 :: Review: The Dresser
Touring production seen in Plymouth.
4
15th Oct 21 :: Review: Madam Butterfly
WNO's new touring production seen in Plymouth
5
13th Oct 21 :: Review: 9 to 5
Touring production seen at the Bristol Hippodrome.
5
9th Oct 21 :: Review: Everyman
Miracle Theatre at the Eden Project
5
7th Oct 21 :: Review: MUM
Seen in The Drum at the Theatre Royal Plymouth.
5
7th Oct 21 :: Review: The Mirror and The Light
Final part of the Hilary Mantel trilogy about the life of Thomas Cromwell.
5

Most Popular Stories

2nd Jan 20 :: 25th Anniversary
UKTW enters its 25th year ...
24th Nov 21 :: Review: Rumi: The Musical
Seen at the London Coliseum
19th Nov 21 :: Review: La Clique
Returning to Leicester Square for the Christmas season.
23rd Nov 21 :: Review: Hairspray
Touring production seen at the Bristol Hippodrome
17th Nov 21 :: Review: Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker!
2021 Touring production seen in Plymouth
1st Nov 21 :: Review: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
English Touring Theatre production seen in Southampton.
22nd Nov 21 :: Review: The Life of Pi
Seen at the Wyndhams Theatre
13th Nov 21 :: Review: Macbeth
Bristol Old Vic Theatre School production
10th Nov 21 :: Review: Heathers
Touring production seen in Bristol.
11th Nov 21 :: Review: Dick Whittington: A New Dick in Town
Above the Stag's panto

SeatChoice Blog

New on-demand platform from Sadler’s Wells

Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage launches its Video on Demand platform with Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Curated by Carlos


An online resource for young children in Welsh

To coincide with World Storytelling Day, Theatre Company launches online resource for young children to access original Welsh language stories.


The World’s Virtual Stage

Another platform for streaming the arts


Catch Online Pantos and Shows

Showcatcher offers on-line shpws from around the world.


New streaming platform releases West End shows

Stage2View will offer a pay-per-view model for a variety of shows



© Dynamic Listing Ltd, UK
1995-2021
PRIVACY and GDPR
Listings powered by Dynamic Listing Ltd
Multidomain certificate installed

Cookies in Use