SUDDENLY, LAST SUMMER-- An Outstanding Production
By Bob and Karen Isaacs
BOB: Westport Country Playhouse is presenting a totally arresting production of Tenneesee Williams' Suddenly, Last Summer.
KAREN: This production is in celebration of Williams' centennial.
BOB: From the moments the lights come up we are entranced this hermetically sealed space complete with Venus fly trap in which all the action takes place.
KAREN: It takes place in the Garden district of New Orleans in 1935 and we meet Mrs. Venable a wealthy, socially prominent aging woman. She has a brought a psychiatrist from the local state hospital to meet her neice, Catherine Holley. Catherine was with her cousin, Mrs. Venables' only son when died last summer and has been institutionalized because of the story she told about the death.
BOB: We also meet Catherine's mother and brother who are dependent on Mrs. Venable and want the bequest the son left to them. The psychiatrist could also be dependent on Mrs. Venable – she has offered to fund his work – which is in lobotomies.
KAREN: As it turns out, you will have to see this to truly understand, Cathy is given a truth drug and then recounts the lurid story of last summer.
BOB: Director David Kennedy moves this one act play along with intensity. He is certainly helped by the terrific set, lighting, sound and costumes. AND the cast.
KAREN: Suddenly, Last Summer is not the best Tennessee Williams play but it does offer two fantastic roles for actresses in Mrs. Venable and Cathy Holly. You may remember that the film version starred Katherine Hepburn and Liz Taylor.
BOB: The impeccable Annalee Jefferies - who is consummate Tennessee Williams actress - plays the role of Mrs. Venable. Liv Rooth matches her as Catherine. Both give touching and complete performances.
KAREN: We can admit that the symbolism in this play is obvious BUT in this production at Westport it did not seem as obvious.
BOB: We have seen other productions, but this production is the best we have ever seen. It really moved us.
KAREN: So get down to Westport Country Playhouse to see this fantastic production of Suddenly, Last Summer that runs through Sept. 10.
This review ran on WNHU 88.7 FM and www.wnhu.net through Sept. 10.