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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: October 16, 2008 @ 11:55 am

    Cat minus Commedia

    Fiona McCann

    “Corn Exchange has developed a physically playful aesthetic, modelled, it seems, as much on Looney Tunes as Commedia dell’arte. Although that style is curiously subdued here (no mask-like make-up or punctuating drumbeats), the acolytes will know why Rory Nolan’s distant, alcoholic Brick and Simone Kirby’s sexually over-ripe Maggie are whipping their heads towards the audience but never meeting each other’s gaze. The uninitiated will just feel bewildered.”

     Since Peter Crawley’s review in this newspaper, Corn Exchange have made some modifications to their production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, taking the Commedia out of their production of the Tennessee Williams classic and allowing Maggie to at least look at her beloved husband, even if he refuses to return the gaze. Does it work?

    Having seen only the after without the before, it’s impossible to compare but exaggerated eyebrows and accentuated expressions showed traces of what had been taken away, only serving to stifle rather than remove the original stylistic overlay.

     The one thing that did become clear in all this confusion is that Andrew Bennett, Commedia or no, is one of the finest Irish actors around, his turn as Big Daddy as human and compelling as this character can become. Anyone else seen this production?

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