Suddenly Last Summer at Wingfield Barns – A Preview

If allowed only one word to describe Open Space Theatre, then it would have to be ambitious. Not content to take on Tennessee Williams, a challenging and contrary playwright, the group have tackled one of his most lyrical and opaque works in a way that was both absorbing and deeply disturbing.

Notwithstanding a solid supporting cast, the stage was dominated by the central performances of Yves Green and Cathy Edwards-Gill, both outstanding as mother and niece. The play is bookended by exhausting monologues from each of them, presenting conflicting portraits of the unknowable, absent Sebastian. Edwards-Gill was reliably hysterical – a woman driven mad by what she may, or may not, have seen – and achieved a raw authenticity of emotion that was genuinely upsetting. Green presented a different kind of madness, one of self-deception and wish-fulfilment, nicely underplaying Violet Venable as a melancholy grotesque – utterly vile, but as damaged as her niece Catharine.

Bolstered by David Green’s imaginative staging and coherent direction, their performances ensured that this grim, troubling work will haunt long after the play ended. To paraphrase Mrs Venable, it will be a while before I can cut this hideous story out of my brain.

To book your tickets to see this at the Corn Hall on 23rd November visit our What’s On section.