Spellbinding production of The Glass Menagerie casts a spell over London critics
John Tiffany’s revival of The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams has just opened in the West End at the Duke of York’s Theatre to critical acclaim.
Reviewers have been awarding five stars to the show, which has already delighted audiences on Broadway and at the Edinburgh Festival. Time Out called it: ‘A stunning revival. A vision of love, a strange dream of America, falling through the night. Remarkable’.
Much of the highest praise has been aimed at Cherry Jones, one of American theatre’s grand dames, who gives what the Financial Times calls a revelatory performance. A five-time Tony Award nominee for her work, Jones won Best Actress for the 1995 revival of The Heiress and for the 2005 original production of Doubt. She has also appeared in major films including The Horse Whisperer, Erin Brockovich, and The Beaver. The Times calls her “unmissable” in The Glass Menagerie.
Director John Tiffany has also been singled out for praise and conjuring up what the Daily Telegraph describes as ‘theatrical magic’ which seems apposite following his last production, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. A star-field of lights fantastically appears at times in the oily, reflective lagoon with which designer Bob Crowley surrounds the hexagonal pontoons of living-room floor.
The story of the play itself, which was written in 1945, revolves around former Southern Belle Amanda Wingfield (Jones), who asks her son Tom (Michael Esper) to find a husband for her daughter Laura (Kate O’Flynn). But the fragile family soon comes under threat when Tom brings home a colleague who turns out to be Laura’s high school crush.
The show, which is supported by Bruno Wang Productions, is set in 1930s’ St Louis, brilliantly brought to life by multi Tony Award-winner Bob Crowley, with lighting design by multi Tony Award-winner Natasha Katz, sound design from Olivier and Tony Award-winning Paul Arditti, and music by celebrated composer Nico Muhly.