Cat on a Hot Tin Roof – Apollo Theatre, London, 7:30PM, July 26th, 2017.
Despite the critical reviews, I genuinely enjoyed the Young Vic’s production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, playing at the Apollo Theater in London’s West End. This was my first time seeing Tennessee Williams’ hit, and it did not disappoint. At first, I was slightly hesitant about the idea of making it modern, and yes, I knew why they were trying to ‘modernize’ it — however, it was very tasteful, with mentions and features of modern objects in the show such as iPhones and radios — all of which just gave it a lite sprinkle, a flavor or modernization – and gave the audience a feel of the time period. Regardless, as proven, the show proves to be applicable in any time period, which was obviously the main notion behind the critically acclaimed ‘modern’ aspects of this production.
Sienna Miller is brilliant as Maggie, and I am sure she will continue to develop and explore the role more thoroughly as the show continues its run into October. The fact that she was a very vocal female character was interesting, as my initial impression was that she would ultimately be manipulated and dominated by her husband (which to a certain extent she was). She always seemed one step ahead of her husband, as if she knew exactly what she was doing, almost outsmarting him in a way. It was suggested that she acknowledged the dynamics between Big Daddy and his wife, and feared that to happen to herself (as it was already accruing). Her skepticism and use of voice contributed to her overall portrayal. Jack O’Connell was also very good, and had a strong, intact performance, and successfully conveyed the internal conflicts and struggles , seeking, yet failing to escape from his issues with Maggie, Big Daddy and himself. His accent was very peculiar, and sounded somewhat Australian whilst attempting to sound southern. Colm Meaney’s depiction of Big Daddy was intense, and from the moment he entered the stage in the second act, one could sense the tension between him and the other cast members. I was enthralled by his domination. He successfully conveyed the similar dynamic between himself and Big Mamma, Lisa Palfrey, to Brick and Maggie.
I do not completely comprehend the directors intent with the utilization of nudity throughout the show, as it only distracts from the essence of Williams’ masterpiece. It was clearly suggested that the nudity suggested vulnerability and connection, yet it failed to communicate that notion with the audience, and if anything, it only opposed its initial intention.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is selling out quickly at the Apollo Theatre. I managed to buy a last minute seat in the dress circle, restricted view (which was not restricted at all), for £35. I would recommend sitting slightly closer and more central for this production, as many of the scenes are on the side, which can be missed if sitting on an angle. Stage door was a nightmare, as the paparazzi were there, but Sienna Miller was very friendly to those who were shoving a camera in her face 🙂