Suddenly Last Summer is set in the exotic grounds of Violet Venables’ mansion in the Garden District of New Orleans one hot afternoon in late summer. The formidable Violet, has summoned her niece Catharine Holly to the house from the lunatic asylum in which she has been incarcerated. Catharine has apparently gone insane after witnessing her cousin Sebastian – a poet – meet a violent death the previous summer.
Fearing that scandal and gossip will tarnish her beloved son’s memory and reputation, Sebastian’s mother, Violet, seeks the help of the inscrutable Dr Cukrowicz in an attempt to suppress Catharine’s incoherent utterances about how Sebastian met his end. But as the play unfolds, Violet’s brutal scheme to silence her niece and the horrific truth about Sebastian’s death are revealed in a tense and compelling final act.
Director, Ann Ellison says:
“I am very proud of Next Stage Theatre Company’s track record of compelling, thought-provoking and memorable productions of four of Tennessee Williams’ greatest plays. Early on, here at The Mission Theatre, where Next Stage is the resident company, I persuaded Barbara Ingledew to return to theatre after quite a long break to tread the boards with Richard Matthews in the company’s production of ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ (2006). Such was the reception of this play that I was inspired to cast these stellar actors two years later in the challenging and shocking ‘Orpheus Descending’. In 2010, Richard starred in ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ and in 2014 was outstanding in ‘Sweet Bird of Youth’ where he played opposite Kay Francksen and Hannah Smyth. It is therefore a real treat for local audiences, who rarely have the opportunity of seeing a Tennessee Williams play in Bath, to know that these four skilled practitioners, all of whom have superbly captured in the past the pathos and frequently tortured lives of some of Williams’ most iconic characters, are appearing in ‘Suddenly Last Summer’. Barbara plays the formidable Mrs Violet Venable, Richard is the enigmatic Dr Cukrowicz, Hannah plays the persecuted Catharine Holly whilst Kay is her ineffectual Mother Grace Holly. This play is probably the most autobiographical of Williams’ works and as such throws a spotlight on the horror that haunted the writer all his life after his sister Rose had been sectioned and forced to have a lobotomy when still young.
Any theatre-goer is in for a treat with this stylish, beautifully-costumed and elegantly-set production which I am sure when it joins the canon of Next Stage’s productions of Williams’ plays will earn similarly outstanding reviews as did the following:”
A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (2006)
“Barbara Ingledew’s portrayal of this sad, delusional woman was awesome.”
ORPHEUS DESCENDING (2008)
“Next Stage performances at the Mission should be packed out every night of the week. Together, they really do give us extraordinarily good theatre, Tennessee Williams’ Orpheus being a particularly good example…I would not have missed it for anything.”
CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF (2010)
“Once again Next Stage has provided Bath with theatre that quite simply knocks your socks off. Mesmerising performances…we hang on every one of Williams’ words”
SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH (2014)
“If you appreciate good theatre then this is unmissable”
Suddenly Last Summer by Tennessee Williams
Tuesday 12th – Saturday 16th July 7.30pm
Tickets £12 (£10 concs) available from Next Stage Box Office on 01225 428600 or email .
Buy online through www.bathboxoffice.org.uk.