An opportunity to see three of Tennessee Williams’s rarely seen short plays in the wonderful art deco surroundings of Hornsey Town Hall. The plays are performed in a downstairs room with a bar and jazz and blues performed by live musicians.
Williams wrote over seventy one-act plays during his life; Step by Step Productions and Simple Life Productions have chosen three to present with musical interludes between as the sets are changed. The common thread between the plays is women facing the challenges of the world.
In A Perfect Analysis given by a Parrot we meet Flora and Bessie, ageing Southern Belles who find themselves in a dive bar in St Louis having lost all their gentlemen friends. Their conversation revolves around men and where they should move on to next for the best chance of meeting some suitable male company. They argue and dig at each other’s appearance; Bessie’s weight and Flora’s skin condition; in an almost teenage fashion.
Hello from Bertha is set in a red light district. Bertha is a prostitute about to be evicted. She has taken to her sick bed for weeks and Goldie, who runs the house, is threatening to call the hospital and have Bertha taken away so that other girls can use the room. Bertha protests that she does not want to leave and Goldie suggests she write to Charlie, a client who had shown her some kindness, to ask for help. It is clear that Bertha is dying and we feel like intruders in her final moments as she tries to find some peace.
Miss Collins is the main character in Portrait of a Madonna. She is an elderly spinster, living alone in a dusty apartment, believing that the man she once loved is visiting her each night. The play begins with her calling the building manager to report an intruder and ends with her being led away to the asylum. The majority of the play is a conversation between Miss Collins, the lift boy and the caretaker who have been sent to investigate the disturbance which presents the spinster’s delusions.
The young cast perform these short plays well and it is good to see so many interesting female roles.
I’d recommend this for an entertaining evening in beautiful surroundings with talented performers.
Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans
The Wild At Heart is playing at HTH Arts Centre in Crouch End until 4th December 2015.