StageScan Pick: The Glass Menagerie

The Glass Menagerie

The Glass Menagerie at Duke of York’s Theatre received a 4.4-star average from pro critics, including two fives. Michael Arditti (Express) observed “Thinly disguised portraits” of Tennessee Williams’ “domineering mother and fragile sister” in what Andrzej Lukowski (Time Out) called “the original memory play”. Dominic Cavendish (Telegraph) hailed an “exquisitely lyrical breakthrough masterpiece” which he thought “would have endured… even if Williams had written nothing else”.

Matt Trueman (What’s On Stage), acknowledging a “celebrated production,” felt John Tiffany “sews” the play ”tightly into its historical context with illuminating results”. Suggesting “other productions… tend to be sour or cynical, but… Tiffany’s absolutely isn’t” Lukowski thought  it “deceptively simply staged” yet “infused” with “magic” and found the result “pretty stunning”. He admired “stylised” movement, within an “inky void, a couple of rooms in a St Louis tenement surrounded by obsidian pools of water” and “haunted” by an “eerily beautiful score”. Truman felt “the warm fug of nostalgia” created by “a burnished sepia glow” adds “the most remarkable backspin” as Tiffany “serves up frustration as if fondly remembered”.

Arditti saw “the pain and the humour of Williams’s writing shine through” in “splendid performances” judging Cherry Jones “magnificent”. Lukowski described an “overwhelming” character “virtuosically” played and Trueman felt she makes Amanda “altogether more reasonable,” detecting  a “hustler” acting only from “hardened realism against a bleak economic climate”. Cavendish thought her “perfect” as she “effortlessly elicits… endurance and a kind of heroism” hailing her “wonderfully animated” depiction of a character “as confined as the son she goads and nags”.

Lukowski thought Kate O’Flynn’s Laura “fantastic… picking out the most delicate of paths between tragedy and comedy”. Cavendish hailed “an understated, introverted marvel” and Arditti found her “deeply moving”. He thought Michael Esper’s Tom “mannered” finding his  “assumed gaucheness” distracting, but Lukowski thought him “exemplary” as a narrator “existing in both the past and the present… wracked with guilt and irritation at the family he abandoned”.  Lukowski found Brian J Smith’s Jim “unexpectedly charming” and Arditti thought him “the picture of flustered decency”.

Trueman, observing, “Tiffany pulls our sympathies in unusual directions” found it “shattering” with an “emotional heart” that “lands late on, in the dark”. Cavendish, admiring the “domestic subtleties,” felt this production of the play “casts a greater, more shiver-making spell than most”.  Lukowski found it “generous” with “an extraordinary, dreamlike feel, halfway between hope and terror, innocence and despair, nostalgia and obliteration” and summed up “a vision of love, guttering in the void; a strange dream of America, falling through the night”.

Booking to 29 Apr 2017, with tickets available from StageScan.

 

 

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