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Review: Cat On A Hot Tin Roof at The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury


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A contemporary, modern twist on the 1950s classic, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, had audiences captivated at its first show in Kent last night.

The raw family drama, showing at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury, was engaging, clever and well re-imagined by director Anthony Almeida.

Shanay Rafaat and Oliver Johnstone in Cat On a Hot Tin Roof. Picture: Marc Brenner
Shanay Rafaat and Oliver Johnstone in Cat On a Hot Tin Roof. Picture: Marc Brenner

The show, although rather complex to follow at first, depicts a sweltering Mississippi night, where the lies are as stifling as the heat.

Maggie, played by Siena Kelly, has fought up from poverty, only to find herself in a passionless, burning marriage.

Her husband Brick Pollitt, played by Oliver Johnstone, a former pro footballer, drinks to drown out the hurt he has bottled up inside.

When the entire Pollitt family meet for Big Daddy’s 65th birthday, the claws are out.

The very simplistic set design is extremely effective and the use of a single table and a rounded, see-through curtain manages to create an intense scene.

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof at The Marlowe Theatre
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof at The Marlowe Theatre

Even with very little to focus on, the contemporary adaptation of the play manages to capture the different settings of the performance wonderfully.

Known as the film that starred Elizabeth Taylor, the script was stripped back and the actors have been able to put their own spin on the 1955 characters.

This enabled audiences to see the psychology behind the heart of raw family dynamics.

The lighting and focus on different characters was cleverly executed and the simple set helped create extra depth and meaning for audiences.

Although quite heavy going, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof is a play about a family and that is something we can all understand as a model in one way or another.

Aryan Parekh in Cat On a Hot Tin Roof. Picture: Marc Brenner
Aryan Parekh in Cat On a Hot Tin Roof. Picture: Marc Brenner

The show feels timeless and many different spins of the story will no doubt be made - that is what was so fascinating about Anthony Almeida's take.

Cat On a Hot Tin Roof is a classic approached in a brand new way, and I definitely suggest seeing it.

The show is on until Saturday, October 9. Book tickets on the website here or by calling the box office on 01227 787787.

For more Stage news across Kent click here.

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