Saturday, August 7, 2010

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof : Actors Theatre of SF : Cast Challenged by Brilliant Classic

A riveting southern gothic play that must be seen in the intimate venue offered by the Actors Theatre. Produced on a shoestring budget without any attempt at creative staging, it's the power of the words that buoy this production to great heights. It's definitely a classic for good reason!

The acting talent is admittedly uneven, but everyone gives it their all, with Christian Phillips' gravitas laden Big Daddy a stand-out.

The two leads can best be described as adequate. Ms. Welch's skill is readily apparent, and she successfully imbues her difficult character with intelligence, depth and a palpable ambivalence. Unfortunately, she fails to deliver the requisite sultry, simmering sexuality of Maggie the Cat. And although baritone-voiced Mr. Russell appears well cast for the role, he fails to find his bearings and portrays the laconic Brick as nigh inscrutable.

But, notwithstanding its evident shortcomings, the overall experience is compelling, poignant and highly satisfying . I strongly recommend it for anyone who appreciates great theatre!

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