Saturday, March 20, 2010

Play Review: Tennessee Williams' 'The Glass Menagerie' at Provo Theater Company

If you're anywhere near Utah Valley, you need to come to this show. Honestly, I'm not terribly familiar with the work of Tennessee Williams, but based on what I saw last night, he is a writer that any artist can learn from. The story is very simple, not based on spectacle, and does not end happily. But still it is whole, and leaves you with a sense of emotional satisfaction and even hope.

But great writing needs to be greatly portrayed, and this production is stellar. Put on by the Mortal Fools Theater Project and directed by David Morgan, the quality of this production is of the kind you usually have to go out of Utah Valley to see. The cast is made up of only four people, and every one of them is phenomenal. Every character was pitiable, pitiful, smooth and haunting.

Reese Purser played a wonderfully edgy, on the brink Tom. His asides to the audience were natural and helped us understand what was going on. My favorite moment of his is when he and his mother finally smile together.

Daryl Ball played Jim in a very unobtrusive, boy-next-door sort of way. You felt comfortable and happy around him from the minute he walked on the stage. It was clear why Laura liked him. And David Morgan's direction in the kissing scene was absolutely perfect.

First off, I would just like to commend Karen Baird (Amanda) for basically memorizing the entire play. It really is the character of Amanda that does almost all the talking and has to keep the play running. And she did it beautifully. Her Amanda left you wanting to both stuff a pillow in her face and tell her everything would be alright; which is exactly how Amanda is supposed to make you feel.

Last but certainly not least, Stephanie Foster Breinholt played a beautifully nervous Laura. She doesn't say much, but if you take your eyes off of her, you miss loads. It was obvious she had worked and thought long and hard about this play and her character, and the payoff was brilliant.

Please don't miss out on this show. Sit back and let the brilliant acting transport you into the world of Tennessee Williams.

Sarah Allen

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