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Comment Archives: Stories: Theater: Theater Feature

Re: “Great performances define 12 Angry Jurors, Years to the Day.

sounds interesting in a current way . This play sounds like the script writer put time into writing it and didn't just want to get it done

Posted by sharleen birkimer on 09/22/2017 at 5:16 PM

Re: “Theatre Memphis Neuters Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

I even have mixed feelings about the set though it was nice, and often beautifully lit. Sad to hear it's still not found its legs. Was hoping this review would have been obsolete in a week's time.

Posted by Chris Davis on 05/16/2017 at 7:51 AM

Re: “Theatre Memphis Neuters Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

In the edition I have at home, there are only a couple of f-bombs. The constant yelling and screaming by one character was extremely distracting. The set was the salvation of the show.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by mayfield on 05/15/2017 at 9:39 PM

Re: “Theatre Memphis Neuters Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

I was in the theatre on opening night, long a fan of Williams' play and Richard Brooks' 1958 film adaptation with Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, Burl Ives and Judith Anderson's malleable yet feisty Big Momma. The film adaptation probably shaped my experience with the stage performance more than I could control - Taylor, Ives and Newman cast a long shadow over any other actors performing those roles, at least for me. The mind candy of Tennessee Williams' words careening around in my head, however, was the real treat. I could listen to that play with my eyes closed and just savor the dialogue. I hope to get back before it closes to give Gabe Beutel-Gunn and Natalie Jones another listen. On opening night they sounded a bit too much like they were reciting lines rather than inhabiting Brick and Maggie. And hear Bill Baker deliver again the most memorable and anticipated line Big Daddy utters. Thanks Theatre Memphis for staging this play and thanks to all the actors for taking on the roles.

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Anthony Hicks on 05/09/2017 at 9:41 PM

Re: “Theatre Memphis Neuters Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

First, agreeing to disagree requires two parties signing on to a meaningless cliche. And I so dislike the construction. So have the courage of your convictions and just disagree. It's okay, because that's what this stuff's all about. But I'm confused. Did you see me in Cat? It was 1987-- in Clarksville, TN. I was a teenager, and it was also a deeply flawed production fwiw. What's extra weird -- I never really even talk about that show unless I'm reminded of the extraordinary actor who played Big Daddy (best part of a messy production), or to tell the story of the time I was almost arrested at intermission for peeing behind the theater-- a cautionary story I like to share with fellow hard-drinking Bricks. (There were no backstage toilets-- Brick drinks a LOT). The experience, if anything, makes me extremely sympathetic to actors in that role -- it's incredibly difficult to connect with your scene partners when the character is trying so hard to disconnect from everything. Requires a tight and giving ensemble and attentive direction. No Brick survives on his own.

This show is probably my first real theatrical crush. Saw it a few times before I did it. I've been reviewing for getting close to 20-years now, have seen several Cats in that time too. Some were very good -- far, far better than the one I did way back when. Some pretty bad -- and still better than the one I did way back when. This cast's lines were not there. Had a lovely discussion about that with an exhausted stranger in the lobby at second intermission. When Bill blew "This woman has life in her body," I was fully flummoxed. Such an important moment -- like it had never been rehearsed!

And just to be clear, Bill Baker is one of my favorite actors ever, anywhere, any time. He did not have control of the lines, or the character on opening night. Neither did Big Mama, and Rev. Tooker. Poor Gabe had better moments in the confrontation where he is allowed to interact. But he was only allowed to have those moments when Bill was with him. As expressed in the review, I count on this cast to improve as things settle. Cutting of the servants -- a nearly silent but constant reminder of the Aristocracy's dominance politics -- and an edition that includes more f-bombs, but less colorful language generally may mean it will never be the Cat i want to see -- but that has nothing to do with the events of 30-years past.

People experience theater differently. They tend to see the best in friends and people they love. That makes me happy. But it's concerning (if all too common) when people imply this is somehow personal and competitive. Although every production reminds me of the intermission when I was almost arrested -- the hardest my heart has ever beaten -- I haven't given my sad little cat a second thought.

4 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Chris Davis on 05/05/2017 at 5:13 PM

Re: “Theatre Memphis Neuters Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

I am agreeing to disagree. I was there opening night. The show was beautiful from start to finish. I had tears, goosebumps, and lots of laughter.

Just because Brick isn't the Brick you were when you did the show does not make Gabe's performance bad. Gabe's Brick is subtle and finely performed. To each their own.

As for Bill, well, he's a mesmerizing Big Daddy. Probably the best actor on that stage.

And you left someone out...Martha. She brought tears to my eyes as Big Momma.

Simmer down, Chris.

Those considering this show should note that this is a different script and it is definitely worth seeing.

6 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Dora Jones on 05/05/2017 at 10:13 AM

Re: “Q&A with Adrienne Barbeau

Mark, she looks great, but no.

Posted by Nick R on 09/03/2016 at 10:12 AM

Re: “Q&A with Adrienne Barbeau

Damn she looks better now than she did 35yrs ago! Badass tough woman.

Posted by Mark Winchester on 09/03/2016 at 2:36 AM

Re: “On stage: Byhalia, Mississippi and The Brothers Size.

I am so pleased that audiences for original work have significantly increased. I do hope this trend continues.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by mayfield on 01/20/2016 at 9:14 AM

Re: “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change at Playhouse on the Square

Not sure, now that you mention it.

Posted by Chris Davis on 12/21/2015 at 12:49 PM

Re: “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change at Playhouse on the Square

What ever happened to Kevin Shaw?

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by mayfield on 12/21/2015 at 10:10 AM

Re: “Buyer & Cellar and The Producers explore the boundaries of excess.

Hope Buyer and Cellar gets a larger audience. Come on Memphis folks, musicals are not the only ways to have a good time at the theater.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by mayfield on 08/30/2015 at 11:25 AM

Re: “Theatre Memphis Goes All-American with Tintypes.

Mayfield, MTI has now weighed in and permitted the change, but Theatre Memphis, having reinserted the song, is keeping it anyway. That's a best result, I think. Nobody gets in trouble over best intentions and a set of warts-and-all historical snapshots remain in tact.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Chris Davis on 11/16/2014 at 8:27 AM

Re: “Theatre Memphis Goes All-American with Tintypes.

Last I heard MTI received and acknowledged the belated request for change but had yet to decide. TM re-inserted the song pending the decision, so there's no real demand to be made at this point. The script is restored. There may be more to the story, of course.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Chris Davis on 11/13/2014 at 9:57 PM

Re: “Theatre Memphis Goes All-American with Tintypes.

Any word if MTI forced Theatre Memphis to put that number back in?

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by mayfield on 11/13/2014 at 8:38 PM

Re: “Circuit revives The Fantasticks; U of M explores the dark side of science with The Physicists.

Ditto on "The Physicists." So glad you were able to see it.

Posted by mayfield on 10/20/2014 at 6:44 PM

Re: “Elaine Blanchard’s Positive Stories

A story that's so needed to be told.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by mayfield on 07/24/2014 at 6:18 PM

Re: “Elaine Blanchard’s Positive Stories

It's always very moving to read your entries, Elaine. I think you are making a real difference and doing it with grace and caring. thank you for the things you are doing and for who you are. peace, Michele

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Michele Wright Bartlow on 07/24/2014 at 4:32 PM

Re: “Elaine Blanchard’s Positive Stories

What a gift Elaine Blanchard is to the city of Memphis, along with Friends for Life and these brave individuals who are finding courage to share their stories.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Melissa Anderson Sweazy on 07/24/2014 at 9:57 AM

Re: “Gypsy at Playhouse on the Square

The practical need to distinguish between two Roses, no doubt.

9 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Chris Davis on 05/20/2014 at 12:18 AM

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