July 27, 2011
Reviewed by Paula Citron
The Glass Menagerie
Written by Tennessee Williams
Directed by Ted Dykstra
Performed by Stuart Hughes, Nancy Palk, Jeff Lillico and Gemma James-Smith
Opened Jul. 1, 2011 (and runs in repertory)
Soulpepper’s The Glass Menagerie is an energetic production, which alone is an anomaly for the Tennessee Williams’ dreamy and poignant classic.
The production also features an older Tom, a genuinely warmer and more girlish Amanda, and a boisterous Gentleman Caller, to name but a few. There are also a lot more laughs, that’s right, laughs.
But then, the director is Ted Dykstra, a man of theatre who always exudes energy.
Now purists may scream foul at Dykstra’s interpretation, but it does work. Apparently Dykstra wanted a middle age Tom in both the narration and the scenes, and it does jar a bit to hear that his gentle sister Laura is two years older. Nonetheless, fresh ideas are always good for warhorses.
Veterans Stuart Hughes, Nancy Palk, Jeff Lillico and talented newcomer Gemma James-Smith certainly command the stage with force.
An unusual production, but it still hits home, and is certainly worth the visit.
The Glass Menagerie continues in repertory at the Young Centre.