CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF
is making critics purr!
Read excerpts of reviews from...
The Washington Post
The Baltimore Sun
The Washington Times
Arch Campbell, WRC-TV
Bob Davis, WGMS Radio
"George Grizzard's snarling and virile performance as the profane patriarch of a rancid Delta household gives the Kennedy Center's production of this Tennessee Williams potboiler a sterling, startling core. With a lordly Grizzard as his waspish standard-bearer, director Mark Lamos allows the drama's insidious plume of malice to ooze out all over.
Dana Ivey is the foolish, self-deceiving Big Mama here, and her utter defenselessness at the force and venom of Grizzard's attacks is so pathetic it's comic. The act of him bullying Ivey conveys a merciless truth about the acid that can flow when love drains away.
The revelation of this production...is the young actor playing Brick. Jeremy Davidson conjures the world of hurt in which Brick languishes in an admirable balance of petulance and stoicism. He's the very rare Brick who is able thoroughly to open a window on the man's wounds without dissipating his enigmatic aura, the notion of a Brick who quietly self-destructs over an unbearable truth.
As Gooper and Mae, T. Scott Cunningham and Emily Skinner are a beautifully realized pair of bloodless vultures, circling as the smell of mortality rises from the doomed Big Daddy. The temptation of the actors might be to caricature the nastiness and avarice, but under Lamos's astute guidance Cunningham and Skinner play them as dully domestic, which only adds to their evil mien."
PAUL HARRIS FROM VARIETY SAYS:
"The Kennedy Center's festival of plays by Tennessee Williams is proving to be a consistently high-level affair. Last month's shimmering production of A Streetcar Named Desire is followed by a high-voltage version of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof that is likely to be remembered as much for the even luster of the Mark Lamos-directed ensemble as for the standout [performances] of its leads.
Lamos achieves full exposure of the self-absorbed personalities that inhabit one of American theater's most intriguingly dysfunctional clans. The lively production also seizes every available comedic opportunity, especially as the family members flail and stumble around John Lee Beatty's spacious bedroom set.
Mary Stuart Masterson is riveting as the high-strung and insecure Maggie...She is fully at ease with the role's many nuances, especially its wit and sarcasm, which she piles on like thick Southern gravy. She is also...a captivating beauty in her satin slip and slinky dress.
The object of her lust and frustration, remote husband Brick, is played with just the right amount of disdain and disinterest by Jeremy Davidson. Davidson's Brick is a fine portrait of repressed anger and guilt waiting to erupt.
Dana Ivey grabs the meaty role of Big Mama and holds on tight. At times touching and pathetic, Ivey's Big Mama is a pitiable figure, especially as she endures and then stoically rationalizes her husband's cruel personal diatribe.
Big Daddy's fearsome presence is fully captured by George Grizzard. The veteran actor is every inch the bitter and bombastic plantation owner whose contempt for the mendacity surrounding him is matched only by his affection for a troubled son. His biggest fight is waged against the devil that possesses Brick, an encounter played sensitively by both Grizzard and Davidson.
Also enjoyable are T. Scott Cunningham as scheming brother Gooper and Emily Skinner as his vapid and perpetually pregnant wife Mae."
J. WYNN ROUSUCK FROM THE BALTIMORE SUN SAYS:
"George Grizzard's unwaveringly powerful depiction of Big Daddy...heats up the Kennedy Center's simmering production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. From the moment Grizzard strides onto the stage, he takes command of it just as his character is determined to regain control of his vast plantation and rechart the rest of his life. Grizzard's portrayal is so forceful that when he brandishes his fist as he says, 'All of my life I been like a doubled up fist,' you can feel the air being displaced. Dana Ivey is a standout as Big Mama."
JAYNE BLANCHARD FROM THE WASHINGTON TIMES SAYS:
"Forceful, taut...[Mary Stuart Masterson as] Maggie is a tempest in a tea gown. Stalking her turf—the bedroom—in high heels, she bristles with sarcasm, ambition and squelched lust. Every word that tumbles from her pretty mouth is a needle.
Grizzard's gritty, towering portrayal commands the stage from the first moment. Like his character, Mr. Grizzard holds onto the audience with bare fists and never lets us out of his grasp...Ivey's Big Mama proves a worthy adversary and partner, her character both flighty and formidable. [Emily] Skinner provides welcome comic relief as the sharp-minded, eternally pregnant Mae."
ARCH CAMPBELL FROM WRC-TV SAYS:
"Tonight, a great cast breathed new life into Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. This revival includes grand performances from George Grizzard and Dana Ivey, plus, [Mary Stuart] Masterson at her best."
BOB DAVIS FROM WGMS RADIO SAYS:
"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a gem in the Tennessee Williams Festival at the Kennedy Center. A superb cast makes this play more memorable than any previous production of Williams' play that I've seen. A well deserved standing ovation was their reward. Put this show at the top of your must-see list and go."