Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00

Suddenly Last Summer

Written by Chris Gibson
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Stray Dog Theatre

Through 9/22/2007
Reviewed by Chris Gibson
Gary Bell, artistic director of Stray Dog Theatre, introduced this production as "Tennessee on Tennessee", making reference to the playwright as well as the company's new home. Suddenly Last Summer, Tennessee Williams' 90 minute one-act, opens this first season in Tower Grove Abbey (2336 Tennessee Avenue.) in excellent fashion. And with a plot that revolves around a proposed lobotomy and an act of cannibalism, it's just my cup of tea as well.

Tennessee Williams' play focuses on Mrs. Violet Venable's obsession with protecting her late son's name at all cost. Unable or unwilling to come to grips with her son Sebastian's homosexuality and his violent death, she conceives of a plan whereby her niece, who witnessed the gruesome event, will be silenced from ever revealing the truth. Violet decides to back the financially strapped Dr. Cukrowicz if he agrees to perform a lobotomy on her niece. Though he decides to listen to Catharine's story before deciding on a course of action, the matter is left unresolved.

Nancy Lewis is mesmerizing as Violet Venable. Her character's logic may be twisted, but she plays the part so convincingly that you may start wondering where the truth actually does lie. Lewis is able to bring depth and believability to a role that could easily be portrayed as a one dimensional villain. She savors each delicious line of venom her character delivers. Julie Layton impresses as Catharine. The raven haired beauty captures the promiscuity and rebellious nature of Catharine while also making you care about her eventual disposition. Her final monologue, which finds her recalling Sebastian's murder is riveting. Rusty Gunther and Liz Hopefl are especially slimy as Catharine's brother and mother, respectively. Driven by greed, they will only realize their inheritance if Violet allows Sebastian's will to be taken out of probate. Of course, that will only happen if Catharine recants her account of his demise. Jan Niehoff as a nun, charged with the task of looking after Catharine, Chelsea Zotta as Violet's nervous caretaker and Joshua Thomas as Dr. Cukrowicz lend solid support.

Gary Bell's direction is strong with intense and focused characterizations all around. The pace rarely lags even though the play is performed without intermission. However, some questionable southern accents among the cast were a distraction. Sarah Thorowgood Daniels' set design adds atmosphere with it's lush vegetation, and is enhanced by Tyler Duenow's lighting scheme But, the acoustics of the Abbey are going to require a bit of trial and error to get just right. Due to the size and shape of the room, it was often difficult to hear all of the dialogue clearly.

Stray Dog Theatre's production of Suddenly Last Summer continues through September 22nd (2007) at the Tower Grove Abbey. Call 314-865-1995 for ticket information, or visit them online at www.straydogtheatre.org .

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

KDHX Recommends

July
Friday
10

A Muscle Shoals Music Revue with Amy Black and Sarah Borges

Join powerhouse singers Amy Black and Sarah Borges for a soulful celebration of the incredible music that came out of Muscle Shoals, Alabama in the 1960s and 70s. Together, with a full band, they will perform classic songs originally...


July
Wednesday
15

Lunch Beat St. Louis #25 @ KDHX

Lunch Beat St. Louis is a free lunch time dance party to let you slip away from the everyday. Bring your co-workers, and bring your friends because for this party the bigger, the better. The music begins exactly at Noon and lasts...


July
Thursday
16

reMAKE

Music is an integral part of our human existence, but how we have listened to it has changed over the years. Even if you aren’t spinning your favorite tunes on records anymore, there are better things to do with all those audio...


Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at answers.kdhx.org.

Online Users

0 users and 7597 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook