Summer and Smoke Almeida Theatre Four stars Book Now Despite the poetic beauty of Tennessee Williams’s writing, at the height of his success, his dramas were rooted in reality, whether a St Louis apartment or a plantation home in the Deep South. His rarely produced 1948 play Summer and Smoke is set in the small, gossip-ridden Mississippi town of Glorious Hill which, according to the writer’s detailed notes, was to be clearly represented on stage, from American Gothic architecture to a public park presided over by the statue of an angel. But modern directors have been inspired by the fluid, dream-like qualities of Williams’s plays, especially his later work, to take a more abstract approach, which reaches sublime heights under director Rebecca Frecknall and designer Tom Scutt in a stunning new production at the Almeida. Nine upright pianos, each topped by a metronome, line the back of the otherwise stripped-back … Read more
Almeida Theatre Artistic Director Rupert Goold has announced a new season of plays exploring leadership in crisis and the power of words. The season will begin at the end of April with The Treatment, a play by Martin Crimp. Directed by Lyndsey Turner (returning to the Almeida following her award-winning production of Chimerica) The Treatment is set in a film studio in New York. A young woman has an urgent story to tell. But here, people are products, movies are money and sex sells. And the rights to your life can be a dangerous commodity to exploit. The cast of The Treatment includes Aisling Loftus as Anne and Matthew Needham as Simon. The Treatment will be designed by Giles Cadle, with lighting by Neil Austin, composition by Rupert Cross, fight direction by Bret Yount, sound by Chris Shutt, and voice coaching by Charmian Hoare. Casting is by Julia Horan. The … Read more
This is a play where the inhabitants of a Nunnery are slain by poisoned porridge; where the daughter of a Jew becomes a Christian Nun, twice; where, having purchased a Thracian slave, owner and slave engage in a bout of one-upmanship about the vile deeds they claim to enjoy; where Friars are referred to as “religious caterpillars”; where the Jew inquires if theft is the basis of Christianity; where a Friar casually asks if the Jew has been “crucifying children”; and where no one, really, has any redeeming features. It all but screams farce, even if some of the subject matter is repugnant and, sadly, deadly accurate.
Despite a delicious design from Anna Fleischle (the black velvet floor and beautifully detailed costumes especially) and some winning, often charming, performances from Catrin Stewart, Jamie Thomas King, Andy Apollo, Colin Ryan and Matthew Needham, Dunster’s production does not establish any case for Love’s Sacrifice to be revived.