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Sweet Bird of Youth at the Old Vic

June 23, 2013

I knew we were in for a treat when I booked tickets for Tennessee WilliamsSWEET BIRD OF YOUTH at the Old Vic. The American Southern setting has an incredibly nostalgic romantic feel about it and there is non other than Tennessee Williams to capture that essence. His plays are so cinematic and epic and I always have that feeling that I have been on a journey, but not only to another time and place, but to somewhere deep inside ourselves. Tennessee Williams plays are written with a core from the root of good and evil within us that intertwines like our DNA creating those timeless patterns of behaviour.

Rae Smiths sumptuous design sets the scene perfectly revealing more and more of the setting, as more and more is revealed about the characters of the play. Kim Cattrall stars as the Norma Desmondesque fading Hollywood star fleeing from her premier, into the arms of a beautiful but jaded gigolo, Chance Wayne played by the very attractive Seth Numrich. This is their story of broken dreams. Kim Cattrall is absolutely brilliant. I did not realise the intensity of her character acting until the very end when at the curtain call I saw the appreciative actress Kim Cattrall step out from her role as the Princess Kosmonopolis. What a performance.

Seth Numrich looks and acts like James Dean and is an absolute delight. He has the major role which links together the whole play. The story is mostly from his perspective. An excellent supporting cast bring the town of St. Claire alive, none more so than Owen Roe who plays the bigoted Boss Finley who dominates the town. He is the antithesis to the purity of his innocent daughter and the force of evil behind events by abusing his power to get his way. Owen Roe gives an absolutely chilling performance which reminded me of John Houston’s tour de force performance as Noah Cross in the movie Chinatown.

If you are in London this summer THIS is the play to see.

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