Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"Suddenly Last Summer" - October 2008

Perhaps this wasn't the significant piece of social drama I was expecting from a Tennessee Williams play but anything it lacks in depth it makes up for in character. And the Tron Theatre Company's production has brought it to life in lavish fashion with two central performances that are electric.

The focus of the play is an informal family inquest into the death of Sebastian Venable, as his mother gets an account from his cousin Catharine who was present during his final days. However it quickly becomes clear that Mrs Venable doesn't want to hear what Catharine has to say.

As Sebastian's mother, Morag Stark gives a wonderfully vicious performance as the Matriarch left holding the family pursestrings (although her swipes with the cane need to be delivered with a great deal more conviction). Clare Yuille is equally impressive as Catharine giving her a balance of strength and vulnerability. In truth, there's little for the rest of the cast to work with but what there is, is done well.

Jessica Brettle's garden set is a wonder and is beautifully lit by Malcolm Rogan, but Steven Bain's soundscape was a little too prominent and proved rather distracting to me at times - although Waldorf thought it nicely atmospheric. The performances make for an entertaining production but the play's grotesque reveal is perhaps a little too "Tales of the Unexpected" and acts as a deterrent to giving the play much further consideration.

A nice touch was the inclusion as a curtain raiser of another short piece by Williams - "A Perfect Analysis Given by a Parrot" - which featured delightful performances by Muireann Kelly & Anita Vettesse. And the cast of the main show can also be seen in "Like the Rain" - three short Williams' plays staged in the Tron's studio theatre immediately following performances of "Suddenly Last Summer".

"Suddenly Last Summer" is part of Glasgay! and runs at the Tron until Saturday 8th November.
Image by Richard Campbell used with permission.