Tennessee Williams’s Pulitzer Prize–winning 1955 play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, is set in the southern Mississippi plantation home of wealthy cotton tycoon “Big Daddy” Pollitt, on the day of his 65th birthday. Gathered for the occasion are Big Daddy Pollitt; Ida “Big Mama” Pollitt; Brick Pollitt and his wife Margaret (Maggie); Gooper “Brother Man” Pollitt and his wife, Mae “Sister Woman” Pollitt; Doctor Baugh; and Reverend Tooker.
Wanting to make Big Daddy’s birthday special and memorable, the family agrees to keep an important truth from him and Big Mama until after the celebratory party. But throughout the event, underlying deceits, sexual repression, sexual desire, rejection, guilt, jealousy, greed, and hatred inevitably emerge, with kindness, love, and forgiveness in short supply.
Victoria Tyrrell Dixon compellingly inhabits the character of Maggie “The Cat” Pollitt, a woman desperate for her husband’s love and determined to save both her marriage and her husband’s future.
Teig Sadhana as Brick Pollitt captures well the malaise of a man defeated, a man who has turned to alcohol to get him through the darkest of times; a man driven by guilt and self-loathing; who blames others, especially his wife, for his misfortunes, rather than face the truth of his own actions.
Michael Sparks’s Big Daddy Pollitt is ebullient as a man of power believing that life had given him a reprieve. Keen to let all around him again feel the force of his will, he demands that they listen as he unrestrainedly speaks his mind.
Liz St Clair Long draws on the viewer’s heartstrings as the loyally naïve Big Mama Pollitt, wife of a man who has long reviled her. Life is straightforward for Big Mama: love your husband and children, even if you can’t hide your favouritism. And Liz St Clair Long certainly brings Big Mama convincingly to the stage.
Laine Hart as Mae “Sister Woman” Pollitt, and Ryan Erlandsen as Gooper “Brother Man” Pollitt, are easy to despise as they skilfully inhabit the money-grubbing, spiteful, and avaricious couple determined to feather their nest at the expense of everyone, but especially of Brick and Maggie.
In all, REP brings this production of the celebrated Cat on a Hot Tin Roof to the audience with conviction and so well that viewers are sure to look again at the vicissitudes of the human condition.
— MICHELE E. HAWKINS
Photo: Left to right, Victoria Tyrrell Dixon and Teig Sadhana, in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Photographer: Helen Drum.