Kate Wasserberg’s elegiac production takes its cue from Tom’s line that it’s a memory play. What we experience are wisps of the past filtered as by the gauze curtain that separates the rooms in Mark Bailey’s deliciously musty set.
Sometimes the memories seem as fragile and delicate as Laura’s glass animals. There are quiet moments when the atmosphere seems to spin webs of silent passions only to be shattered by painful outbursts.
Teresa Banham’s Amanda is not a monster, merely a self-centred mother with no idea what her children need. She’s unreasonable in her demands but only with the arrival of Jim, the Gentleman Caller, does her behaviour go over the top. It’s a fine performance that never tries to be a star turn.
Lisa Diveney’s Laura is simply wonderful. Fragile, crippled by shyness rather than her foot, lighting up when caring for her glass animals (as they literally light up whenever she is happy), longing for peace and quietude – this is an almost unbearably moving picture of aloneness.
Hywel John’s Tom is perfectly pitched, nicely varying his individual responses not only to his family and Jim, but also finding just the right tone to address the audience.
Sam Massey’s Jim is the voice of normality, the slightly boring Everyman who can’t be the love of Laura’s life but gives her her one short period of joy and completion.
As light shining on glass makes it look different, so this subtle and superb production wonderfully illuminates The Glass Menagerie afresh.
Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, September 17-October 10, then touring until November 14
- Tennessee Williams
- Kate Wasserberg
- Clwyd Theatr Cymru
- Teresa Banham, Lisa Diveney, Hywel John, Sam Massey
- Running time
- 2hrs 20mins