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Review | Suddenly Last Summer by Growl Theatre


A theatre review

Brendan James and Charles Langford's direction of Suddenly Last Summer, was fecund with Tennessee Willliams' metaphor and symbolism in both the stagecraft and aesthetic of the performance. But let's start with the stagecraft, shall we? I loved the business each character had when they were on stage; whether it be twirling a tennis racket, lighting a cigarette in the darkness or simply just sitting in the darkness, lost in the characters daydreams. Supported by Brandt Laing's lighting design, I loved the balance of light and dark on stage and how not all characters were lit but were still participants in the action on stage. Similarly, I loved the symbolic nature of the characters moving in and out of the light, just like we do in our everyday trials and tribulations.

Review | Suddenly Last Summer by Growl Theatre

The set, created by the directors themselves, consisted of a plethora of vines and foliage of all different shapes, sizes and textures, making the audience feel like they were peering into a tropical snow globe of sorts. It was a feat for the senses and was the most perfect backdrop for a narrative that, for the most part, felt devoid of colour. Speaking of colour, I loved the playful rapport between Marian Jones (Mrs Holly), Lachlan Driscoll (George Holly) and Catherine Holly (Bianca Butler Reynolds). Their conversions and witty remarks had me laughing hysterically from my seat in the third row. I found myself counting down the minutes until they next appeared on stage as it was such a joy to watch them play off of each other. Needless to say, for me their scenes were truly the highlight of the show.

Review | Suddenly Last Summer by Growl Theatre

Reynolds was formidable as Catherine as she added such nuances to her character's emotional trauma. It was such a treat to watch the commitment that Reynolds made to her characters vulnerabilities and the depth in which she went to portray this character as not a frail woman, as many before her have done, but transforming her fragility to that of strength and endurance. Reynolds and Daren King (Doctor Cukrowicz) had lovely rapport, with King bringing such substance to a character whose thinking and actions towards the end of the play challenge the system that Williams warns us about.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable night of theatre, albeit socially distanced. I can't wait to see what this company does next.

Rating: 4 stars

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