Sunday, 27 March 2011

I Never Get Dressed Till After Dark On Sundays - a review

It's not often that you can attend a world premiere. Much less often on the 100th anniversary of the birth of playwright; one among the greatest of the past century.

This is however what I managed to pull off yesterday by attending a performance of an unpublished, never-performed, 1970 work by Tennessee Williams: I Never Get Dressed Till After Dark On Sundays at the Cock Tavern Theatre in Kilburn. And a treat it was too.

This production is only one of a winning streak since the appointment of Adam Spreadbury-Maher as artistic director two years ago. This includes a lovely and highly appropriate version of La Bohème (my review for Londonist here).

Lewis Hayes as Tye, Shelley Lang as Jane and Cameron Harris as Director. Photo: Rocco Redondo
Cameron Harris as Director tries to convince Lewis Hayes as Tye and Shelley Lang as Jane to say their lines. Photo: Rocco Redondo.

Once again the creative team have managed to make the best use of the intimate (some may say cramped) space that is the Cock Theatre. Some of the actors are seated among the audience who become even more involved in the last dress rehearsal of the play they are witnessing. A play within a play.

The play is typical Williams, a point emphasised be the casting of a Williams look-alike in the role of the playwright. The weak oversexed macho man, the strong young woman out of her depth with the situation, the oppressive, decadent and deleterious American South, some gory back story.

This is the work of a disillusioned and substance-abusing master who hasn't seen success for some years and is passing comment on a theatre industry which deems so much of his work inappropriate and not enough of a money spinner, forgetting artistic and creative considerations in the process.

The play is not perfect but it is very good indeed and it was a real treat witness such strong performances.

This play has now closed by the Cock have another treat in reserve for us. Another Williams premier in the shape of A Cavalier for Milady. One of Williams's very last works. On the strength of what I saw yesterday, I'll be sure to drag my sorry arse all the way to Kilburn to see it.

Happy Birthday, Mr Williams.

I Never Get Dressed Till After Dark On Sundays
Directed by Hamish Macdougall

A Cavalier for Milady
Directed by Gene David Kirk
29th March - 23 April
Cock Tavern Theatre

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