mom and son

Geraldine Somerville as Amanda with her son Tom, played by Kasper Hilton-Hille

The Glass Menagerie

Malvern Theatres


In Tennessee William’s The Glass Menagerie we meet the Wingfield family – mother Amanda, son Tom and daughter Laura.  Laura suffers from a physical disability and an acute shyness and inferiority complex. The play is presented from Tom’s perspective, looking back on his painful home life before he escaped and left Amanda and Laura to cope together, as his father had done previously.

The play is full of angst, the anguish of a life that is hard, pain-filled and isolating. Amanda discovers that Laura has dropped out of her college course and has no evident future as she shuts herself in a world of glass figurines.

She considers that the best course for Laura would be to find a husband. She encourages Tom to bring back potential partners from the factory where he works, and in the second half of the play, Jim O’Connor comes for dinner. Will Amanda’s hopes be fulfilled?

The play is a powerful and emotional reflection of Tennessee Williams’ own sadness and pain over his sister’s experience.

Atri Banergee has chosen to interpret the play in a powerfully and creatively expressionist style, and not to go for a naturalistic presentation of Williams’ play. This is dramatically very effective and brilliantly complemented by Rosanna Vize’s clever and evocative design. This approach strips away all distractions from the emotional conflicts and tensions in this family.

The characterisations are therefore absolutely critical to the success of this production. Natalie Kimmerling’s portrayal of Laura is deeply moving and expressive. Her huge shyness, her emerging hopes, her profound and hurtful disappointment are powerfully portrayed.

Geraldine Somerville plays Laura’s mother, Amanda. Her deep pain and anxieties give rise to an excessively garrulous and controlling performance; while we understand her pain and deep concerns for her children and their happiness, she is unrestrained in her pressure and excitement to achieve a solution to Laura’s isolation.

Tom (Kasper Hilton-Hille) plays the youthful young man who has to escape the painful reality of his everyday life in the family and in the factory. He writes poetry, makes, it seems, nightly visits to the movies and smokes. His relaxed and retrospective performance is strong.

Zachaeus Kyode plays Jim O’Connor, a tall, strange presence in Act One, but a seemingly kind and encouraging friend to bring hope and future possibilities for love to Laura in the second half of the play. Their dance and movements are brilliantly expressive and moving.

This hugely theatrical and dramatic production runs in Malvern until Saturday 30th March.

Tim Crow


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