The Glass Menagerie at the Duke of York’s Theatre
Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie is a beautiful play that thrives through a wonderful exploration of its four characters. It gives each room to shine but requires some intensive acting – and as such, it can be rather demanding. Thankfully, director Jeremy Herrin’s cast is stellar and features a range of well-known names who succeed throughout.
The play is narrated retrospectively by Tom (Paul Hilton). Amy Adams stars as his mother, Amanda Wingfield, who is apprehensive about the future of her children after her husband abandoned her some years ago. Tom as a young man (Tom Glynn-Carney) is a would-be-writer and plans to leave town as soon as possible, while his sister Laura (Lizzie Annis) is pressured into trying to find a suitor, despite her severe social anxieties that make it impossible for her to function. When it turns out that a “gentleman caller” Tom has invited is already married (Victor Alli), Tom finally leaves and never returns after a heated argument with his mother.
Adams, making her West End debut, is of course the main allure of this play, but she doesn’t dominate it too much despite the strong presence of Amanda as a character. All other actors manage to stand out just as much. Annis, in her professional stage debut, displays some powerful chemistry with Alli.
But it is the production that really steals the show. Vicki Mortimer’s set design features a large glass cabinet with Laura’s glass figurine collection and individual set pieces that gently nod towards 1930s America without being too overbearing. Paule Constable’s lighting design complements this extremely well, producing a magical atmosphere that is both apt and breath-taking. Finally, the composition and sound design by Nick Powell round off an impactful experience so that one can’t help but feel swept away into Williams’s heart-wrenching imagination.
As such, Herrin’s The Glass Menagerie is a wonderful show that needs to be seen. With a strong cast and the sheer charm of a perfect Williams-esque staging, it’s just enjoyable to watch. A definite recommendation.
Images: Johan Persson
The Glass Menagerie is at the Duke of York’s Theatre from 23rd May until 27th August 2022. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.