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Entertainment

Reviews

Tennessee Williams loses lilt in Australian accent

Jacqueline McKenzie in Belvoir production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

John Shand Simon Stone's production restores the playwright's bleaker ending, but loses some of its poetry.

Comments 6

6 comments so far

  • A hugely disappointing production and a waste of good acting talent. The revolving set become tiresome within a few minutes, the inappropriate music (The Cure - how postmodern) only served as an irritant and the Australian accents and deliberate anachronisms only diminished the impact of the language and setting.
    Lynette Curran's histrionic performance was embarrassing; such a good actor deserves better, and Ewan Leslie seemed barely interested in proceedings.
    The night I attednded there were a few empty seats after interval and the applause was 'polite' at best.

    Commenter
    chris g
    Location
    wollongong
    Date and time
    February 28, 2013, 4:52PM
  • It's a patronising and wrong-headed choice, which also scuppered the recent Death of A Salesman, according to friends who saw that production and whose judgement I trust.

    Commenter
    Bill C.
    Location
    Qld.
    Date and time
    February 28, 2013, 6:31PM
  • Unlike your reviewer, I wasn't put off by the Australian accents. This is an excellent production of one of the great American plays. Jacqueline McKenzie gives a wonderfully energetic, sexy performance as “the Cat”. Lynette Curran is also outstanding as Big Mama. After seeing the Belvoir production, I watched the 1958 film version starring Liz Taylor and Paul Newman. In my opinion, McKenzie gives a better performance than Taylor. Highly recommended but, if you have not bought tickets, I suggest you might book a few weeks ahead to allow stand-in Marshall Napier time to master his lines as Big Daddy.

    Commenter
    AtomicAce
    Location
    Cronulla
    Date and time
    March 01, 2013, 9:27AM
  • rherrrwow ... jac's the CAT, a cool one at that! a more courageous, soother, playful tabby never laid pat ON gal' iron. in this shimmering vision Across spectrums of tragedy and joy, maggie's nine-life vivacity is so HOT that lightening recoils at fusing; thunder mutes ovation, southerlies hold breath - lest heaven's breaking hide the shadows of her light. (till later warmly shrouded fresh raindrops TINg the ROOF).

    Commenter
    Nat
    Location
    Date and time
    March 08, 2013, 7:59AM
  • I almost walked out, then Big Daddy arrived.
    Maggie and Brick spend the first 15 minutes setting the scene. I know the play..the scene is hate, desperation, cunning and despair. But I found myself at a hysterical diatribe devoid of any variation of emotion. Flashes of farce but mostly just ranting. This speech is supposed to reveal the layers of emotion and motive but all it did was reveal the inept direction to follow.

    All the female roles are stereotypical and shallow and comedic. Badly over acted in lieu of subtly portrayed. Big Mama is a stand out horror performance.

    Brick and Big Daddy provide relief as they deliver modulated and resonant performances.

    The stage set is Belvoir copes with Cat rather than Belvoir stages Cat. Stupid and distracting.

    I suggest you decamp at interval. The last half hour is just dreadful. More Big Mama schlock. Embarrassing.

    Commenter
    Lyn
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    March 24, 2013, 7:51AM
  • An exceedingly generous SMH review for Belvoir's seriously misguided Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. The language of the play absolutely demands a Southern drawl, and not only for the poetry and rhythm of the piece. The gentility and deference of the Southern speech patterns also lends a vulnerability and humanity to the characters that this production sorely needed. It might also have clued some of the actors in to the subtext, which seemed to largely escape them. So instead of Maggie alternately attempting to seduce Brick and taunt him with her (and his) sexuality through the first act, she's just a self-absorbed shrew - and a shrew with a ghastly, whiney Australian accent. That Southern gentility could also have stopped this production spiralling into overblown melodrama as everyone becomes increasingly over-wrought. The stage ends up obscured by cake, furniture, bedclothes and streamers, but it's the play that's more seriously obscured. The film version was seriously sanitised by Hollywood, but I still wish I'd stayed home and watched it instead.

    Commenter
    OzJay
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    March 31, 2013, 9:31PM

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