I am a fan of Tennesee Williams so was excited to have the opportunity to see one of his lesser known works performed locally, especially after the glowing reviews I read on Twitter from many of my friends. I’d worried that this was a rightfully forgotten work, but the thought of a play that openly dealt with being gay set in New Orleans … What could go wrong?
As it turns out, there were some serious structural issues with the play that I think have rightfully kept it on the shelf. The ten or so characters seem to have been leftovers from other plays – they all seem to have a back story, but none of them really seem to evolve during the course of the play. It felt like watching a long-lived TV series where they just keep adding to the number of characters there and plot convolutions as long as the ratings are good.
The various characters all have interesting tiny arcs, almost enough to make the evening worthwhile as a series of sketches, but they’re hampered a bit by some overacting (not to mention some of the most misplaced American accents ever – since when is St Louis the deep South?). However, the sex really makes the show worth attending. The lead character’s struggle with his sexuality, the old painter’s lecherous acceptance of his own, the crackling energy between the New York blonde and her boytoy – top it all off with one of the most amazing male physiques I’ve ever had the joy to witness from near touching distance, and WOO WHEE. Yeah, that was £15 well spent.
(This review is for a performance that took place on Friday, July 28th. Vieux Carré ends August 4, 2012. Bring a fan.)