“On a steamy night in Mississippi, a Southern family gather at their cotton plantation to celebrate Big Daddy’s birthday. The scorching heat is almost as oppressive as the lies they tell. Brick and Maggie dance round the secrets and sexual tensions that threaten to destroy their marriage. With the future of the family at stake, which version of the truth is real – and which will win out?” – The Young Vic
If the Young Vic taking up residency at the Apollo from July 13th isn’t enough to get theatre loving tongues wagging, then news that it’s for a production of ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ is sure to send West End regulars into delirium. Featuring a stellar cast including Sienna Miller in the role of Maggie the ‘Cat’, Jack O’Connell as Brick and Colm Meaney bringing his notable presence to the role of Brick’s dad, wealthy Tycoon ‘Big Daddy’ Pollitt, it’s sure to be one of the most talked about stagings since Gillian Anderson walked the boards in ‘Streetcar named Desire’, another Tennessee Williams masterpiece, also directed by Benedict Andrew.
Seeing Jack O’Connell starring opposite Sienna Miller in the 1955 Pulitzer-prize winning Tennessee Williams play, made famous by Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor in the Oscar winning 1958 film is a tantalising prospect. Rarely, do two such accomplished British film stars take to the stage and in a production that is sure to be heavy on sultry drama.
O’Connell’s career has seen a meteoric rise from the grim northern town drama of This is England to Starred Up, 74, and then opposite George Clooney and Julia Roberts in Money Monster, staking his claim as a British actor to look out for beyond his contemporaries. As for Sienna Miller her performances in everything from American Sniper, to Foxcatcher and The Lost City of Z, has been cruelly overlooked. Miller is one of the finest film actresses we’ve produced in decades and her performance here as Maggie looks set to be one of the most talked about of the year.
Australian Director, Benedict Andrews has certainly got form with Tennessee Williams as his aforementioned last Young Vic production, ‘Street Car Named Desire’, which saw Gillian Anderson and ‘Hell or High Water’s’ Ben Foster cause a storm down on the South bank.
Utilising his notable talents to test the form of O’Connell and Miller is an intriguing undertaking, especially coupled with the Young Vic’s decision to take their first ever step into the West End setting up at Shaftsbury Avenue’s Apollo, for a cross over crowd that could see people clambering for tickets. Andrews says he wants the production to bring out, ‘the raw, ferocious truth in Williams’s writing’, in a play that is built on sexual intrigue and lies, and he’s certainly got the actors to do it.
Although all eyes will surely be on the strained onstage relationship between Miller and O’Connell, the towering presence of Big Daddy is filled by one of the best Irish actors on the circuit, Colm Meaney, who has given steadfast, quality performances in more film and television dramas than we could care to mention. Most recently he mesmerised viewers opposite Timothy Spall in the film, ‘The Journey’. The MALESTROM predicts Meaney will add that extra dimension to this play, giving it the edge over all others competing across London this long hot summer.
American Sniper Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Colm Meaney Elizabeth Taylor George Clooney Gillian Anderson Jack O'Connell Julia Roberts Male Magazine Men's Lifestyle Men's Magazine Paul Newman Sienna Miller Street Car Named Desire The Apollo The MALESTROM This is England Timothy Spall West End Theatre Young Vic