facebook play-alt chevron-thin-right chevron-thin-left cancel location info chevron-thin-down star-full help-with-circle calendar images mail whatsapp directions_car directions_bike train directions_walk directions_bus close spinner11
Are you missing theatre as much as we are? Support us now with Theatre Tokens and see your favourite shows when they reopen.

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

Published 2 December 2009

There is so much bitterness, resentment, anger, rage and manipulation in Tennessee Williams’s classic tale of a turbulent family birthday that it makes November’s bleak, rainy climate feel like a sunny day at the beach.

Every one of its major characters has distinctly unattractive flaws that bar their complete entrance into the audience’s heart, from the posturing and sycophancy of the inheritance-hungry Mae and Gooper, to the self-alienation of drunken, former sportsman Brick and the rudeness of Big Daddy towards his wife, which grows like an already rotten plant from the news he has recently received.

That news is that his recent medical tests prove he is clear from cancer. Unfortunately for him, that is not the truth, and while the rest of the family know the reality of his situation and vie for his favour, Big Daddy and Big Mama revel in blissful ignorance.

Of course, these flaws and failings are what make Williams’s characters human and believable. With all the play’s action taking place in one stuffy Mississippi bedroom and in real time, it is their painful, hurtful and, on occasions, tender interaction that pushes the play forward.

In the hands of James Earl Jones, Big Daddy cuts an imposing figure, overpowering everyone around him in size and sound. For the most part barking orders, his moments of tenderness come with a stillness that cuts through the gruff exterior. The love of Phylicia Rashad’s tottering Big Mama for her husband is palpable, making his actions devastating, while Adrian Lester’s Brick is, for much of the performance, a husk of a man, isolated and dead behind the eyes. Sanaa Lathan, as Maggie, is desperate, agitating, manipulative and somehow still a little endearing.

Much was written, when this production was first announced, about it breaking new ground as the first all black cast of a Tennessee Williams play in the West End. When you drive to the heart of the piece – the desperation for survival, the need for love, the posturing, resentment, lies and hard truths – its tale is universal and applies to all humanity regardless of ethnicity.



Sign up

Related articles

If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.