Thursday, May 7, 2015

review - CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF - Mesa Community College

the MCC cast of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
(photo: Tom McCoy / Mesa Community College)
highlights from Gil's review at Talkin' Broadway- (click link at bottom of review to read complete review)

"Having just celebrated its 60th anniversary, Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer Prize winning drama Cat on a Hot Tin Roof still resonates today as a cautionary tale of how a web of deceit can fracture family relationships. With a crackling cast and superb direction, Mesa Community College's production is, even with a few small shortcomings, a great production of this classic play. It vividly gets to the core of this story of sexual tension, death and, ultimately, survival....follows a wealthy Southern family headed by Big unaware that he is dying of cancer, though most of his family knows and because of that knowledge have all gathered to celebrate his 65th birthday. While his oldest son Gooper maneuvers to gain control of the family estate, youngest son Brick, who is constantly drinking to forget his past, also has plenty of present problems with his sultry and sexually frustrated wife Maggie. The summer heat outside smolders while the family fireworks burn and pop inside....As the brooding, ex-athlete Brick, Jesse Kinser makes it painfully obvious that he is drinking to numb the pain of his past, a past that includes the possibility that he and his former teammate, the recently deceased Skipper, were more than just best friends. Marissa Salazar plays Brick's wife Maggie, and she has the appropriate shades of strength, determination and desire for Brick, even though she is suspicious of what went on between him and Skipper. The combination of a perfect script and two very good performances makes us feel pity for both Brick and especially Maggie and her unsuccessful efforts to seduce her uninterested husband, which leaves her feeling like a "cat on a hot tin roof." Billy Alewyn is perfect as Big Daddy..showing us that the seamlessly uncaring Big Daddy does actually care about a few things, especially when it concerns his son Brick..It is a beautiful performance. Pam Darveaux is just as good as Big Mama...Darveaux's display of Big Mama's wide range of emotions is natural and effective, as are her dealings with her husband and her children which are extremely realistic....Jared Kitch and Dolores E. Mendoza play Gooper and his wife Mae, and both fill their characters with greed and disdain for the attention that Brick and Maggie receive from Big Daddy and Big Mamma. Mendoza is a firecracker, vicious in the insults she flings at those around her, yet displaying her Southern charms when required....Director James Rio achieves excellent performances from all six of his leads...with the pacing perfect throughout, allowing the intensity, emotion, and ultimately the honesty of the characters to shine through. However, there are a few small quibbles, though none of them offset the winning end result or the fever pitch of the drama. Some of the supporting performances are weak, and some of the accents leave a bit to be desired. We never get the sense that Brick is getting any drunker throughout the evening, even though he has consumed a large quantity of alcohol. Also, while Rio has Salazar moving constantly across the stage, like a cat, especially in the act one scene that focuses mainly on Brick and Maggie, the wood floor of the stage and the high heels that Salazar wears cause a continual noise that, combined with Salazar's thick southern accent and the fact that none of the cast are mic'd, occasionally means dialogue gets lost in the large auditorium....Ezekiel E. Barkman's scenic design is sublime, giving the feeling of a large bedroom on an even larger plantation yet having an openness that gives the impression that no secrets can ever be truly concealed within the room. ...Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a classic drama, with themes, situations and conflicts that are universal and still relevant today. Even with a few small shortcomings, with the combination of a gifted cast, skilled direction, and evocative creative elements, Mesa Community College's production sizzles with passion and greed." -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

1 comment:

  1. See this play before it's too late! Two shows left: Fri May 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Sat May 9 at 2 p.m. Great performances and a taut, tense production with moments of levity and poignancy. Kudos to James Rio on his choice of actors and his sensitive direction of this classic.