Suddenly Last Summer

Suddenly Last Summer
By Tennessee Williams. Directed by Charles Langford and Brendan James. Growl Theatre, Windsor School of Arts. Brisbane. August 15 – August 29, 2020.

This one act play maintains so many of the traits of Tennessee Williams’ other plays, where a key female character experiences emotional and mental stress. The story tells of the effects the death of wealthy poet Sebastian Venable while on holidays with his cousin, Catherine Holly, have on his family and Catherine in particular. His mother hires a doctor to find answers and he does so via Catherine Holly’s revealing her truth.

Joint directors Charles Langford and Brendan James have the action take place in a lush garden setting which allowed for very free movement while making the audience concentrate on the spoken word – which was critical.

They cast well.  Jenny Bonney-Millett was the dominating, controlling wealthy matriarch seeking answers to her son’s death. She was the character in so many ways, but though her speech lacked clarity at times. Bianca Butler Reynolds was outstanding as the emotionally troubled cousin who witnessed Sebastian’s death. Her performance was such that we all felt her pain and what her truth revealed of the event and the family.

The cast was completed by Daren King as Doctor Cukrowicz, Elizabeth Scales as Sister Felicity, Marion Jones as Mrs Holly, Lachlan Driscoll as George Holy and Betsy Applehof as Miss Foxhill. They all succeeded in bringing these supportive characters to life – Lachlan Driscoll in particular.

The audience did not come for the laughter - there was none – but all everyone was super attentive and absorbed in this very good production.

William Davies

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