Theatre review: The Glass Menagerie is a perfectly recreated classic, brought to life by talented locals

It’s easy to assume that retelling a classic story for the thousandth time would make her feel tired and drowsy—but it wasn’t. the glass Menagerie, Maybe it was the live brilliance that gave the timelessness of the screenplay or the family drama, but it Tennessee Williams The piece felt as relevant and entertaining as it should have been in the 1940s.

produced by WA. Key Black Swan State Theater Companythis version of the glass Menagerie There is a very local production, with many Western Australians lending their talents to the show. I attended the opening night of the play Her Majesty’s TheaterWhere the first few thunderous lines were able to pacify the crowd that had spent two hours sipping complimentary cocktails.

One obvious reason for the drama’s continued success is that the theme of family is universal and will always feel close to home. There’s only one setting (a family living room) and four characters (three of them a family), but that’s all it needs. The play has a ‘slice of life’ style, where the dialogue is so quick, smooth and brutal that it seems quite conflicting. As a classic, a great script was expected, but it was the kind of brilliance that made you realize why it’s so endearing—not the kind where you sneak up on wondering what the fuss is about. Is.

A wonderful script could easily be destroyed by lazy acting, but there were no such issues in this production – every actor was completely invested in the story and delivered each line with vigor. As an American drama, the accent always risks questionable attempts, but the cast pulls off believable versions of the strong Southern draw without sounding too conservative.

Mandy McElhinney The standout performer of all time, bringing incredible energy to the stage for a hilarious rendition of mother, Amanda Wingfield. His comedy timing, dramatic expressions and perfect delivery of lines kept the audience hooked to his every word. joel jackson Tom Wingfield as the narrator of the brother, and Tennessee Williams‘ The most autobiographical work, he was almost playing Williams himself. They delivered complex rows efficiently, matched McElhinneyof the dramatic comedy, and embodied the character of ‘Trapped’, the creative young man. acacia Laura Wingfield brought an interesting ethereal quality to the character—a socially awkward sister with a passion for glass sculptures—and gave some subtle emotional depth to what could have been a one-dimensional character.

the glass Menagerie A unique play, because Tennessee Williams created very specific stage instructions to accompany the dialogue, so there wasn’t much room for the designers to work with. However, set and costume designers, fiona bruce, managed to turn the scenes in an elegant way. The set was quite open, typical of an apartment with no doors or windows, and the rooms were separated only by sheer screens and floating levels. It complemented the abstract, dreamlike spirit Williams was aiming for.

A stand-out element from the original set direction was the way relevant images and snippets from scripts were projected around the stage. video designer, Michael Carmodydid an excellent job of recreating Williams’ ideas, using glass reflections and beautiful images of roses as well as humorous photographs of shirtless men to match the theme of ‘Gentlemen’s Callers’. As stated in the opening narration, this is a ‘memory play’, so the direction also asks a composer to sit in the background and create every sound effect and musical accompaniment for the scenes. Tom O’Halloran There were incredibly skilled composers and pianists for this iteration of the play, silhouetted behind sheer screens, their music perfectly reflecting the emotions of the characters.

the glass Menagerie A timeless piece that remains relevant because of its intelligent script, modern set direction, and focus on life’s small but heartbreaking misfortunes. In this Western Australian version, the local cast and crew do it justice, bringing the script to life with impeccable acting and creative design work. It’s a well-rounded, gripping and emotionally impactful production that will have you passing two hours in the blink of an eye.

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Five stars (out of five)

the glass Menagerie Playing at Her Majesty’s Theater until August 21,

The reviewer participated on 4 August 2022.

Header Image Credit: Daniel-Jay-Grant



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