Nov 252009

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof in London

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof is a play by Tennessee Williams that has been a great success on Broadway for four months and now comes to the Novello Theatre in London with most of the original cast. Set in the deep South of the USA in the early part of last century, this adaptation of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof is remarkable for having a cast of all black actors, or African Americans as the politically correct but technically incorrect  Americans would say, since the lead role, Brick is played in London by a British actor.

If you’re looking to see a serious play in London, full of drama and intrigue, unafraid to tackle the heavyweight topics of human relationships, then Cat On A  Hot Tin Roof would be the one to choose for a high-brow theatre break in London without any music and dancing. The acting in this one is very powerful indeed, and at times humorous, while the brilliant writing of Tennessee Williams drives the plot forwards so you would never notice the hours passing.

James Earl Jones as Big Daddy

James Earl Jones (the voice of Darth Vader) was born to play the part of Big Daddy, and Adrian Lester in the part of Brick does a magnificent job of anchoring the whole show around him, while his stage wife,  “Maggie the cat” played by Sanaa Lathan does most of the talking.


James Earl Jones is well known for his deep bass voice and he puts it to good use in the role of Big Daddy. As child he had elective mutism due to a very severe stammer and dyslexia, both of which he eventually overcame. Jones grew up in Mississippi and says he know men just like the old plantation owner.  He is older than you might think  at 78 and remembers seeing Burl Ives in the role when Cat on a Hot Tin Roof first opened on Broadway in 1955. He says he has been wanting to play the role for many years and has modeled his performance on that of Ives.

The production team seem genuinely excited to be bring this show to London and it does seem likely that the people of the UK as a whole will respond by bringing an appreciative new audience in to the West End of London for the four and a bit months that Cat on A Hot Tin Roof provides the opportunity for.

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