(seen at the afternoon performance on 1st April 2017).
Designer Bob Crowley plays his usual jokes on the stalls, with a set of effects
that can't be seen by anyone there, and a guest appearance by "Jaws" (or it
could be a neon moon, who knows). How this guy gets work is beyond the monkey.
Still, that aside, if the monkey hadn't had its bar raised by "Who's Afraid of
Virginia Woolf" earlier in the year, it would be raving about this. Kate O'Flynn
(Laura) and Brian J. Smith (The Gentleman Caller) dominate the second half, the
cruelty of the false sense of security and shattering of glass and hope are
The rest of the play is a typically slow Williams boil, made more interesting by
the strong autobiographical elements. Williams has an avatar in Tom (Michael
Esper) who narrates and interacts with mother Amanda (Cherry Jones) and sister
Laura as it suits him. Amanda works and tries to keep her wayward offspring in
order, to little avail and it is no wonder Jones seems tired in the role. Esper
has a little life, but perhaps director John Tiffany could have played with a
little more zest - and also putting Esper centre stage more frequently, where
the entire audience could see him.
Nearing the end of the run, the monkey did get the impression the emotion of the
piece had begun to dissipate slightly, and caught only occasional glimpses of
why it has been touring since 2013 and received massive approval on Broadway.
It's worth seeing for the O'Flynn / Smith combination, and also simply because
this remains a beautifully constructed play... it just isn't all that fresh now,
and the design flaws are inexcusable.
A five star production that knocks one of its own stars off in the process,
feels the monkey.