Theatre: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
It’s not often you see a production that you feel is really the hottest ticket in town but Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is just that. Transported from Broadway and boasting a seasoned and highly talented cast, this production is enthralling. Sophistication, suspense, mystery and hubris feature heavily throughout the plot of this American classic, while greed and favouritism vie for centre stage. It is Big Daddy’s birthday and three generations of the family assemble to celebrate but as the day unfolds, things start to unravel. His sons are set to inherit a 28,000 acre plantation and $80m from their father who is unaware that he is dying, he has only been told he is suffering a ‘spastic colon’. While favourite son Brick, a former sports hero and now alcoholic languishes in self pity, his brother, a successful professional with five children and one more on the way, rallies round with paperwork only to find his efforts rebuffed. He’s also treated by his Father with disdain and this weighs heavily on him and his heavily pregnant wife. Brick downs whisky while wife laments and curses their loveless marriage. From curtain up you are already part of the furniture in the bedroom of a husband and wife caught up in the throes of a family drama in which the father (James Earl Jones) is the dominating and domineering figurehead. This Tennessee Williams production has been updated slightly; the sexual tension and ambiguity sizzles throughout the performance while fertility and loyalty are just strewn aside as womanly frailties, rather than the building blocks of life. The play is well cast and boasts two Brit actors alongside US players; interesting too that this is an all black cast and the dynamics of the uber rich in the Southern States of 1950s America is reimagined. The cast is Richard Blackwood (Brightie), Guy Burgess (Lacey), Claudia Cadette (Nanny), Peter De Jersey (Gooper), Derek Griffiths (Reverend Tooker), James Earl Jones (Big Daddy), Sanaa Lathan (Maggie), Susan Lawson-Reynolds (Sookey), Adrian Lester (Brick), Joseph Mydell (Doctor Baugh), Phylicia Rashad (Big Mama) and Nina Sosanya (Mae). They are joined by Yvonne Gidden who will understudy Big Mama.