It’s a hot and steamy day in the Deep South. The family gathered to celebrate Big Daddy’s 65th birthday is not exactly a happy one. Favourite son Brick is doing his best to drown his sorrows in copious amounts of alcohol. His wife Maggie is trying to keep her balance on her metaphorical hot tin roof while coping with rowdy invasions from the no-neck children of brother-in-law Gooper and his heavily pregnant wife Mae.
Big Mama fusses around like a mother hen while Big Daddy himself refuses to admit age or health scares and picks a fight with everyone in turn.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a big play which here receives a crystal clear, wholly absorbing production under the direction of Robert Hastie. The acting from the entire company is exemplary.
Gareth David-Lloyd’s Brick not only has to consume extraordinary amounts of drink but has to perform the whole evening hopping around on one leg. He is an ex-athlete who crashed over hurdles at night while drunk. He is also bowed down with a dark secret from his past, it’s a terrific tour-de-force.
Catrin Stewart is equally fine as Maggie, the spitting cat of the title. The open warfare between her and Catrin Aaron’s fabulously irritating Mae is a constant delight.
Desmond Barrit’s towering Big Daddy is a performance of immense power yet with a underlying vulnerability. The play is almost stolen by Abigail McKern’s twittering Big Mama who towards the end shows the steel beneath the fuss.
In addition to the direction and the acting, everything else, Design Janet Bird, Music Jared Zeus, Lighting Colin Grenfell and Sound Matthew Williams, all come together to make this an outstanding and memorable production.