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Once again the Rep pulled off an elegant, pacy and well-acted production.  I must admit I wasn’t too keen on the actual play itself, but the experience was excellent.

The set was fairly minimal, but colourful, and I liked the play of clouds and the different blues on the sky on the backdrop – it created the feel for the time of day.   The background sounds of the croquet match and fireworks etc – were there but not intrusive, which was good.

The lovely Liz Caswell took the part of Maggie – the Cat of the title – and as we have come to expect, gave a beautifully crafted performance, showing repression, rage, and just a bit of scheming in there.

Dave Corbett as her husband Brick, played a very different character to his norm – dark and brooding, an alcoholic who displays all the signs of wanting to be just that, and sinking into misery.  The scene between Brick and his father Big Daddy, played by Charles Plester, was engrossing, going through various ranges of despair, anger and everything in between, they both gave us a sense of the atmosphere of the times.

Charles created a good character – sometimes his accent slipped – but he kept the pace so that the dialogue which could have been a little heavy was very listenable, and the occasional lapse didn’t matter, as the meaning both controlled and uncontrolled was there.

Anne Davis was a super Big Mama, kidding herself that she was loved and wanting to believe that Big Daddy wasn’t going to die.  Good portrayal, and loved the green dress, which was so suitable and flattering, I would have liked to have seen more formal shoes to flatter Anne’s nice ankles and feet.  

Ben Jaggers and Jenna Ryder-Oliver played Brick’s brother Gooper and his wife Mae. Gooper was the quiet boring lawyer who wanted his inheritance, and Mae was the busy body who had five children and also worked hard to ensure that the family were looked after once Big Daddy had died  – both parts played really well by this talented couple.

Three of the five children were played by Isabelle Sadlier Mat Rowlands and Miles Capp, all of whom acted their parts extremely well, being noisy and boisterous and also quite and serious when required – they integrated well with the adult cast members.

The cast was completed by Richard Garrett as Reverend Tooker, as small part but with an occasional very amusing line, and Philip Davis as Doctor Baugh, who had the task of confirming to Big Mama that Big Daddy was actually dying.

So, a well-acted production, where the different characters complemented each other, with stand out performances from Liz Caswell, Dave Corbett and Charles Plester – a lot of emotion and humour was brought out of the script, and well done to Chris Lavin for pulling it all together so well.

Nova Horley

Dunstable Rep

CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF” review date: 26H Jan 12

Little Theatre, Dunstable

Director:  Chris Lavin


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