The Glass Menagerie

The Glass Menagerie is a hard play to get wrong. Tennessee Wiliams’ words have an innate power all of their own. It is also, however, a difficult play to master. With this in mind, the group from Cleveland High School should be proud with the decent amount that they’ve accomplished.

All four actors put in a decent performance

Williams’ classic follows the Wingfield family - or a memory of them - as Tom Wingfield explains in his prologue. Struggling with life after being abandoned by their father, a disillusioned Tom lives with his mother and sister. His sister Laura is incredibly shy and burdened with a limp, whilst his mother Amanda yearns for the comfort and glories of her younger years. Determined to find a match for Laura, she persuades Tom to invite a gentleman from his work to dinner – much to Laura’s chagrin, when it turns out that she recognises him.

All four actors put in a decent performance, with Phillip Morton’s Tom Wingfield probably being the standout. All could do with being louder. A few issues with projection and clarity do hamper the beginning of the play somewhat, but, with the cuts made to the script, this performance holds together for a fairly pleasant hour and a half.

There seemed to be more than a few technical mishaps, either from cues or initial programming. Quite often basic cover lighting seemed to flicker off and on, leaving the actors with only their backlighting. The actors, to their credit, power on regardless. Also, the decision to have an almost constant stream of music playing distracts from the action considerably, especially alongside issues with projection. 

Similarly, it seems to end only because the end of the song has been reached, rather than starting and stopping for particular cues. Unless you’ve never seen The Glass Menagerie before, this production won’t blow your mind, but it serves up an enjoyable experience nevertheless.

Reviews by James Beagon

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The Blurb

The scene is memory and is therefore non-realistic. From these opening stage directions we follow Tom as he attempts to cope with the guilt of caring for his fragile sister, as delicate as a piece of glass, and avoid the path of his father, who abandoned the family. Tom hopes to become a poet and finds escape in the movies, drink and magic. His overbearing faded Southern Belle of a mother asks for him to bring home a 'gentleman caller' for his lonely sister.