The Placer Performance Calendar


Great Local Shows - Theatrical Reviews

Title Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Organization Sierra College Theatre Arts Department
Date(s) of show April 15-24, 2016
Reviewer Sallee Kallenbach
Review An openly dysfunctional and inheritance-obsessed family visits the old plantation home of patriarch Big Daddy Pollitt on his birthday after they have discovered he is dying of cancer.

In the first act, Maggie, played by Rachel Combs, talks at length to Brick, her hunky, boozed up husband, who is played by Radulf Steiert. Brick is mourning the loss of his best friend Skipper, who Maggie is certain was more than just a friend to Brick. Steiert as Brick emanates a sensual and quiet sort of oblivion as he continuously drinks while limping on a crutch back and forth across the stage in his attempts to avoid Maggie’s smothering affections. Combs’ love-starved and formerly lower-class Maggie the Cat gives an impassively endless monologue about a relationship devoid of lovemaking and the lack of children she wants in order to secure her place in Big Daddy’s family fortune, candidly uttering the famous line about feeling like “a cat on a hot tin roof.”

In the second act Big Daddy, played skillfully by Jim Lane, gives a fiery and irreverent diatribe to the seemingly indifferent Brick about love, women, sex and money. Lane provocatively delivers Big Daddy’s revelation that mendacity is everywhere and money is a comfort but it cannot buy back your health or immortality. At one point, Big Daddy cannot seem to get through to the apathetic Brick, so he startles him up by pulling his crutch out from under him.

In the third act the whole family is gathered together to celebrate Big Daddy’s birthday with gifts and a big cake. Brick’s brother Gooper, played by Connor Hunt, and Mae, his wife, played by Justine Freschi, are experts at deviously cajoling Big Daddy and Big Mama. Their three bratty children, played by Famke Steiert, Sofia Paez and Tyler Langdon, run in and out during the play, yelling, screaming, pointing play guns and annoying Maggie, who calls them “no-neck monsters.” At one point, the kids redeem themselves by entertaining the family with a funny little song. Big Mama, played comically in a clever fatsuit by Celeste Mazon, repeatedly tries to appease Big Daddy in her efforts to keep the family together. The Reverend Tooker, played by Chris Giacomelli, and Doctor Byfield, played by Joshua Byfield, are respectably droll as the ever-present sycophants of the Pollitts. Offstage voices and singers add a mystical Southern quality to the drama, while sound and lighting effects punctuate much of the dialogue. Props and scenery also have a delightful authenticity, as well as the sensitive direction of Scott Adams.

Although this play, like most of Tennessee Williams’ other works, is filled with dispirited and dark themes, the cast did a commendable job of conveying that we’re all humorously flawed humans, often competing for love and money, and never having nearly enough.

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