BWW Review: SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER at Town Players Of Newtown
On Friday, July 20, I saw the Tennessee Williams play SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER performed at the Town Players of Newtown, in Newtown, CT. While written as a one act play, this production contains four scenes, with an intermission after the third scene, a most unusual concept, even for a show set in the 1930s. With the fourth scene being the best by far, however, this decision works well.
The set looks amazing. It is full of shrubberies, and depicts the garden of Sebastian (not appearing) a character that died as part of the story's exposition. The plot involves the conflict between Sebastian's mother, and Sebastian's cousin Catharine whose story about the circumstances surrounding Sebastian's death is so unsettling to Sebastian's mother that she insists that Catharine's story is untrue.
The sound effects were unfortunately counterproductive. The very opening lines, delivered on stage, but from the very back of the stage, got drowned out by the loud sound effect of tweeting birds. During Catharine's story of the details behind Sebastian's death, a sound effect of a band playing, "Oom-Pah-Pah," from Oliver! was as disruptive as a ringing cell-phone to the intensity of that moment in the show.
Actress Molly Brown carries this show as Catharine, who brings much needed energy to the start of the second scene and tells a powerful emotional story in the fourth scene, selling every word and feeling with convincing mannerisms, facial expressions, and vocal tones, including a consistent and authentic sounding southern drawl. Catharine becomes the central protagonist whose story regarding Sebastian's death is the story that the audience wants to believe, as disturbing as it may be, just because Catharine is really the only likeable character in the show. While many of the lines of this show are long and drawn out, Molly Brown manages to keep the audience's attention with a strong delivery of a compelling story.
As a show that contains far more dialogue than action, it is important for all audience members to enter the show prepared to fully focus on every word spoken, in order to gain the maximum from this drama. SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER is scheduled to continue to run at the Town Players of Newtown, in Newtown CT, through August 11, 2018. For times and tickets, please go to http://www.newtownplayers.org/reservations/general-info/.