Stars explained: * A production of no real merit with failings in all areas. ** A production showing evidence of not enough time or effort, or even talent, and which never breathes any real life into the piece – or a show lumbered with a terrible script. *** A good enjoyable show which might have some small flaws but has largely achieved what it set out to do.**** An excellent show which shows a great deal of work and stage craft with no noticeable or major flaws.***** A four star show which has found that extra bit of magic which lifts theatre to another plane.
Half stars fall between the ratings

glass head


Rebecca Williams as Laura, with, behind, Alex Parkinson, left, as Tom, Pamela Meredith as Amanda and Rob Broadhurst as the gentleman caller

The Glass Menagerie

The Nonentities

Rose Theatre, Kidderminster


SO often it is the case that the theatre benefits from the hardship and misery of a playwright’s personal life, to bring into being a powerful piece of drama.

The Glass Menagerie is perhaps one such work. Premiered in 1944 it marked the turning point of Tennessee Williams career and reflects many of the facets of his own life.

The story focuses on the Wingfield family who live in a small apartment in the busy inner city of St Louis who throughout the play reflect upon their troubled lives.

There’s Tom, the son facing his frustrating job of a warehouse operator whilst longing to write poetry or for the movies.

Then his sister Laura, socially removed and suffering from her inferiority complex about her disability which has left her in an awkward mental state.

Finally, the Mother Amanda, the once popular society belle, abandoned now by her long absent husband and struggling to secure her family’s future whilst smothering them in the process.

Tom played with great spirit and drive by Alex Parkinson is a son who is juggling his creative muse whilst tolerating the banality of his job and the responsibility of being left as the family breadwinner. 

As the production stumbled a couple of times it was down to his confidence in the part that kept the play on track.

Pamela Meredith played Amanda the forlorn single mother and she captured beautifully the overbearing awkward relationship with her son Tom and the desperation to find a suitor for her daughter Laura.

In the early part of the play her daughter Laura played by Rebecca Williams has little to do with the core of the action.

Laura mostly sits contemplating her collection of glass ornaments but the arrival of her gentleman caller, played by Rob Broadhurst, brings her more to the fore. The pairing played out some magically intimate scenes by candle light. They were very convincing as Laura struggles with her disappointment that her first ever potential suitor is indeed found to be already engaged and so it will be their first and last meeting.

By any standards the play is not an easy journey with its bleak unresolved ending and catalogue of troubled memories, but director Sue Downing has done a fine job of bringing the cast to an understanding of the complex issues within the play.

It also features a first class set designed by Jen Eglinton and some very creative lighting by Neil Chamberlain all of which added to a very contemporary feel to an accomplished production of this timeless 40s period drama. To 14-05-16  

Jeff Grant


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