Russell Starke as Big Daddy with 'Little Monsters', Zara Blight, Thomas Hamilton-Smith. Rachael Homes-Vickers, Jimmy White and Hammond
Reviewed by Richard Lane
The dysfunctional Mississippi Pollitt family was in denial. Big Daddy’s son Brick, called it “mendacity “ which described his utter repugnance at the “lies and liars” he saw within the family.
This production of Tennessee Williams’ favourite play which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1955 was under the direction of experienced director Barry Hill, who brought out this theme of “mendacity” running throughout the play.
Act 1 could have provided more tension between Brick and wife Maggie, Anita Pipprell, but pleasingly, this built well in Act11.
The multi-purpose set worked for the most part although there was the occasional sticking point with stage movement.
The costumes for the most part were suitable except Big Momma’s, (Jude Brennan) wig was a little obvious and surely Big Daddy as a rich man, could have dressed a little less slovenly- would he not have taken off his coat from time to time and shown us his braces which hitched his pants up to a respectable length?
The performances were a little uneven but the role of Brick was carried with maturity and insight by Joshua Coldwell. Russell Starke who played the dying, bullying patriarch Big Daddy, demanded our attention with his physical and vocal presence.
Anita Pipprell in the role of Maggie looked stunning but needed to be a little sexier to emphasise the focus on Brick’s relationship with her and also Skipper.
Others to do well were David Rapkin a jolly bumbling minister (Reverend Took), John Matsen, the dissembling Dr Baugh, Nicole Rutty a grasping and very pregnant Mae and the avaricious older son, Gooper played by Alan Fitpatrick.
Jude Brennan struggled valiantly with Big Momma, and the nasty little offsprings of Mae and Gooper could have been even nastier.
Was Brick a homosexual we ask? Regrettably, there is no Part 2 to this intriguing, unresolved family drama. Mr Hill left the denouement of the play dangling and we are left to make up our own minds