Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

In just one night and in the setting of just one room, Tennessee Williams, through an assortment of characters, exchanges and cleverly devised entrances and exits, manages to unveil the harsh reality of the human condition in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

By Manchester's Finest | November 12th '14

‘The bird that I hope to catch in the net of this play is not the solution of man’s psychological problem.
I’m trying to catch the true quality of experience in a group of people, that cloudy, flickering, effervescent – fiercely charged! – interplay of live human beings in the thundercloud of a common crisis.’

– Stage directions to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Act II

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In just one night and in the setting of just one room, Tennessee Williams, through an assortment of characters, exchanges and cleverly devised entrances and exits, manages to unveil the harsh reality of the human condition in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

This set- up is reminiscent of Kitchen Sink Dramas such as Billy Liar or even the foundations of Coronation Street. As a result, what seems worlds and years away to a Mancunian audience, actually rings true when reflecting on its origins.

Similar to ‘Abigail’s Party’, written by Mike Leigh, in its simplicity of staging and timing, Director James Dacre is able to accomplish the ‘interplay of live human beings in the thundercloud of a common crisis’.

The overlooked heroine of the piece is Maggie, wife of Brick and daughter-in-law to the family in crisis. Williams writes a complex character for each player but none as challenging as Maggie, played effortlessly by Mariah Gale.
Maggie, as one of the principal trio of characters which also includes husband Brick and father-in-law Big Daddy, fights to love and to be loved, only to be referred to as ‘a cat on a hot tin roof’.

In its similarity to Kitchen Sink, the cast and creative team interpret Williams’ script with ease and a stirring quality that seems to sit with you for days after.

The original production premiered in 1955 where audiences would have been shaken by its content which includes the ambiguity of sexuality, infidelity and addiction.

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But its Dacre’s direction that interprets the production’s true eeriness, as the cast regularly surround the principal trio or stare down on the dramatic unravelling of roles from the upper circle of the theatre, symbolising the true entrapment of the human condition in its battle against reality and prejudice.

As modest as the production sounds, stage designer Mike Britton encapsulates the time, the wealth and even the climate with four hanging ceiling fans and the glamour of French ornate style that becomes the idea of a wealthy family in the Deep South.

In its similarity to Kitchen Sink, the cast and creative team interpret Williams’ script with ease and a stirring quality that seems to sit with you for days after.