Review: ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ at Castaways Repertory Theatre

Power struggles come in many forms. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, by Tennessee Williams can be used as a case study in a book titled, How to Win Arguments, and Influence People. Maggie uses sensuality and cattiness to pursue her goals. Brick portrays a lack of interest, but is drinking heavily to escape his pain and avoid confronting his issues, and abuses the power of other’s love for him. Big Daddy uses intimidation, shock tactics, cussedness, and his position of wealth and privilege to boss everyone around.

Matt Scarborough (Brick) and Deidre McCollum (Maggie). Photo by Julie Little.
Matt Scarborough (Brick) and Deidre McCollum (Maggie). Photo by Julie Little.

Erin DeCaprio, the director of Castaways’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, has found very capable actors to cover the demanding leads for the show. Deidre McCollum, as Maggie, carries the heavy load of the first third of the play. Flirting, wheedling, commanding, insinuating, and undeniably catty; McCollum portrays a very self-aware Maggie, fighting for her husband’s love and a place in his family.

Matt Scarborough plays Brick as a man hiding his anger and his truths by refilling his whiskey glass. Jay Tilley’s portrayal of Big Daddy backs up his bluster with an order of orneriness.

Jay Tilley (Big Daddy) and (Big Mamma). Photo by
Jay Tilley (Big Daddy) and Catherine Lyon (Big Mamma). Photo by Julie Little.

The most sympathetic character onstage was Big Momma, well-played by Catherine Lyon, the real-life mother of Matt Scarborough. Peter Ponzini as Brick’s brother, Gooper, and Becky Farris as Gooper’s monstrously-fertile wife, provide characters you love to hate.

The play touches on issues that were pushing the envelope of comfort zones when it was first produced in the 1950’s. Censors kept the original version of William’s play from being used for the Oscar-nominated movie starring Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, and Burl Ives. Castaways’ production, though 50 years later, still pushes buttons that are sensitive; as Tennessee was apt to do.

The set captured a bedroom in a Mississippi delta plantation house very clearly. Set Designer Jim Watkins uses frames for walls, so that the audience can see past and through them. This bit of symbolism in what was otherwise a realistic set, supported the interest the characters have in seeing through the lies of the family, a theme at the heart of the play.

The show deals with mature themes and has adult language.

Running Time: Two hours and 40 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission.

The cast of 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.' Photo by Julie Little.
The cast of ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.’ Photo by Julie Little.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof plays through October 9, 2016 at Castaways Repertory Theatre performing at the Dr. A.J.Ferlazzo Building – 15941 Donald Curtis Drive, in Woodbridge, VA. For tickets, call (703) 232-1710, but them at the door, or purchase them online.


Note: The show deals with mature themes and has adult language.



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