The Glass Menagerie | Queensland Theatre CompanyThis play was a magnificent interpretation of one of Tennessee Williams’ most personal works. The play itself told the story of a small family, the Wingfields, struggling with issues that are not dissimilar to the human issues we face today. The dialogue unfolded upon a set reminiscent of yesteryear, sparsely landscaped, coloured a subdued shade of grey. The space that was left onstage by the minimal use of props was filled with the robust performances of all the actors.

The transition from scene to scene was seamless and the colourful Southern accent adopted by the actors to add to the authenticity of the play, was polished and convincing. From my perspective, I found myself immersed in the action as though I was watching a film on the silverscreen. The actors were unique, formidable and sincere within their individual roles and also their relationship with each other. There was mother, brother and sister; father was nothing more than a picture on the wall – static yet ever present throughout the story and one gentleman caller played by cast members Carol Burns, Helen Cassidy, Conrad Coleby and James Stewart.

The direction, masterfully crafted by Michael Futcher, offered the audience an intimate insight into the plight of this humble well-meaning St Louis family. Each moment was as engaging as the next and the actors played their roles as though they have inhabited them for years. The subtle additions to the dialogue included a soundtrack, composed by Phil Slade, and projected text onto the darkness in between scenes. This added a dimension of sophistication that highlighted the time and effort that went into creating a sensation from a classic.

This play was explicitly emotive and often painful, giving the feeling that even with the distance of time and a fictitious story the human condition remains the same. The struggle that existed within the script was that of mother, played by Carol Burns, left prematurely widowed by an absent father, trying to grapple with the changing times and championing for her daughter – a mildly crippled eccentric - to be taken care of by a male benefactor before both of them are too old for good use. This struggle was offset by younger brother’s story.

Helen Cassidy who played Tom’s older sister, Laura Wingfield, plays a pivotal character upon which the story is pitted against. Laura a passive, gentle and shy young woman who is both obsessed and pacified by her collection of glass animals, acts as her brother’s antagonist due to the nature of her personal situation.

Tom, younger brother played by Conrad Coleby, who also provides narration throughout the story, was responsible for abandoning his dreams in order to provide the family with financial security and find his sister a suitor. This he tried to do with a great amount of anguish that was portrayed in a very distinguished performance. I was enthralled from the opening scene to the last. The Glass Menagerie has been cleverly produced and executed and deserves much acclaim.

Queensland Theatre Company presents
The Glass Menagerie
by Tennessee Williams

Cremorne Theatre QPAC
9 July - 11 August 2007
Tue @ 6.30pm, Wed to Sat @ 7.30pm; Matinees Wed @ 1.00pm & Sat @ 2.00pm
$36 - $56. 26 & Under: $26

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