In an “illuminating” essay within the programme for this terrific staging of Tennessee Williams’s semi-autobiographical reminiscence play, Rosanna Vize explains that when the manufacturing was postponed through the pandemic, she utterly overhauled her design. An indication for the Paradise dance corridor, initially tiny, now dominates an nearly naked stage.
“Its big neon letters hold over the motion, slowly revolving, as if to taunt” the sad Wingfield family under. The impact is “super, ironic, melancholic”, mentioned Susannah Clapp in The Observer.
The signal glows or dims, spins quicker or slower, in line with the momentum of the play, mentioned Mark Fisher in The Guardian. Typical of a manufacturing that’s “as clever as it’s adventurous”, this boldness lets us see Williams’s “story of thwarted need afresh”.
Some will discover the Paradise symbolism a contact heavy-handed, mentioned Matt Barton on What’s on Stage – however Atri Banerjee’s manufacturing has actual magnificence. The staging deftly avoids a practical presentation of Laura Wingfield’s assortment of glass collectible figurines: as an alternative, we see reflections within the shiny sheen of the polished flooring, glinting just like the floor of a millpond. Lee Curran’s lighting additionally peppers the set with mirrored spots of sunshine “like a flickering constellation” – making a “visible sense of goals, fantasy and their wistful references to the Moon and outer area”.
“There’s a easy litmus check for the success of a Menagerie manufacturing: whether or not or not it leaves the viewers in items,” mentioned Claire Allfree in The Every day Telegraph. By that measure, this “powerfully heart-wrenching” night is a triumph, wherein “detailed expressionism” by no means obscures “vividly human” performances from a nice forged. Geraldine Somerville excels as Amanda, the “trilling, overbearing matriarchal fantasist”, and Joshua James “finds all of the play’s savage humour” as Tom (who tells the story, primarily based on Williams’s personal recollections). We get a Chekhovian sense of those characters as actual and “adrift”. But the manufacturing additionally “captures the play’s curious ineffable high quality, midway between reminiscence, dream and one thing totally imagined”.
Royal Change, Manchester. Till 8 October