Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Philadelphia

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Walnut Street Theatre
Review by Rebecca Rendell

Matthew Amira and Alanna Smith
Photo by Mark Garvin
Exploring themes of family, greed and sexuality, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is one of Tennessee Williams' most intriguing and beloved theatrical works. Director Bernard Harvard's production at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia captures the essence of the play with its powerful performances, lush set, and stunning costumes. Stars Alanna Smith and Matthew Amira effectively embody the tension and desperation in their tumultuous relationship, which is crucial for a successful production of this play.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof takes place on an expansive estate where a wealthy Southern family is gathering to celebrate the birthday of their patriarch, Big Daddy (Scott Greer). The story revolves around the strained relationship between Brick (Matthew Amira), a former football star struggling with alcoholism, and his wife Maggie (Alanna Smith), who is desperate for his attention and affection. Despite his issues, Brick remains Big Daddy's favorite, to the great distress of his brother Gooper (David Bardeen) and sister-in-law Sookey (Natasha S. Truitt). As the day transitions into night, hidden conflicts emerge, past transgressions are dragged into the light, and a desperate struggle for power takes shape.

Smith is sensational as ruthless Maggie, crazy like a fox and just as devious. Amira gives an absolutely devastating performance as her alcoholic husband Brick. Sparks fly when Smith and Amira go at each other, but there is a profound sense of connection between them that adds gravity to the entire production. Scott Greer is appropriately bombastic and fantastically rancorous in the role of Big Daddy. Sookey is played with acrid energy by Natasha S. Truitt. Truitt gives an excellent performance even though she does not appear to be the appropriate age for the role. The entire supporting cast deliver strong performances, particularly in their portrayal of the family's dysfunction and underlying conflicts.

Roman Tatarowicz' sumptuous set design transports the audience to a luxurious mansion in the deep south. Mary Folino's costumes are beautifully designed and flawlessly executed. The production is so immersive, you can almost feel the humidity of a summer evening in Mississippi.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a dramatic masterpiece that continues to resonate with audiences. Tennessee Williams' exploration of human nature and its complexities, as well as the dynamics of family and society, remains relevant and thought-provoking. Harvard's excellent production makes the most of Williams' script and proves that his work is as powerful as ever.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof runs through March 12, 2023, at Walnut Street Theatre, Mainstage, 825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia PA. For tickets and information, please call 215-574-3550 or visit

The Cast
Margaret: Alanna Smith
Brick: Matthew Amira
Big Daddy: Scott Greer
Big Mama: Wendy Scharfman
Mae: Alicia Roper
Gooper: David Bardeen
Sookey: Natasha S. Truitt
Reverend Tooker: Johnnie Hobbs Jr.
Doctor: Baugh Michael Toner
Dixie Kelsey: Noel Briggs†, Violet Mae Badeau‡
Buster Jackson: Deen Goral†, Gavin Barden‡
Sonny: Grant Knudson†, Raphael Sommer‡
Trixie: Olivia Hiepler†, Faye Lorena Stockmal‡
† Performs Weeknights (Monday-Friday); ‡ Performs Weekends (Saturday and Sunday )

Production and Design Staff
Director: Bernard Havard
Set Design: Roman Tatarowicz
Sound Design: Christopher Colucci
Costume Design: Mary Folino
Lighting Design: Shon Causer
Wig Design: Carissa Thorlakson