|I saw the show on the 9th (re: Has anybody here seen CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF currently at St. Clement's?)|
|Last Edit: Marlo*Manners 10:05 am EDT 03/21/23|
|Posted by: Marlo*Manners 09:57 am EDT 03/21/23|
|In reply to: re: Has anybody here seen CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF currently at St. Clement's? - Jackson 11:04 pm EDT 03/20/23|
|"My question is: Why did they bring it back for a return engagement?"
They may have wanted to fix stuff they got wrong and didn't work the first time around.
I have friends who saw the production last summer and walked out after the first act.
Evidently Sonoya Mizuno wasn't up to the role of Maggie the Cat, lacking vocal and stage technique, and the first act of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" is practically a monologue for Maggie.
Mizuno has been replaced by "Cobra Kai" star Courtney Henggeler who certainly is sexy enough and is very high energy as Maggie. She has a hard edge and lacks the vulnerability of other Maggies but she is stageworthy and gets the job done. In the end I liked her.
Frederick Weller is at sea as Big Daddy. He is an actor I have enjoyed in everything I've seen him in - until this. He is replacing Christian Jules LeBlanc who is back shooting "The Young and the Restless. LeBlanc is older than Weller but is also quite thin and extremely fit - he was posting thirst trap photos of his shirtless body wearing tightie-whities on his social media until recently. However, Weller has no authority or weight (gravitas not pounds) and is wearing jeans and a tight dark blue shirt making Big Daddy look like a middle-aged hipster. His voice is too light and his line delivery too casual. Also, for an actor whose specialty is playing jerks, dolts and douchebags (original Shane Mungitt in "Take Me Out"), Weller's Big Daddy lacks a dark edge. It's a rare misstep from a consistently good actor.
The director's concept is that Big Daddy and Big Mamma are Brick and Maggie thirty years later. The husband has contempt for the wife and has lost desire for her while the wife still wants the husband and seeks his love despite his indifference. Therefore, you cast attractive actors in their fifties and sixties to play the parts to suggest that way back when, they were as attractive a couple as Maggie and Brick. Alison Fraser seemed tired the night I went but gained authority once Big Mamma goes into tiger mother mode protecting Big Daddy from Gooper and Mae and the lawyer.
De Rogatis was easily the best performance onstage and his is a dominating presence with imposing physicality. Brick is a tricky role because there is a lot of silent reacting - or even more difficult - silent non-reacting. De Rogatis keeps his focus throughout and grounds the character - he does not disappear even when the character is checked out and passive.
I thought the direction wasn't bad - the timing of the fireworks to punctuate the dialogue in Act II and III confrontations was effective. It's nice to see the show in a small intimate theater. I paid very little for my ticket, so I was glad for what I got.
Marlo Manners (Lady Barrington)
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