REVIEW: The Glass Menagerie at Nuffield Theatre, Southampton

Belinda Lang as Amanda stole the show
Belinda Lang as Amanda stole the show
The former H&E King sweet shop in Albert Road

The Kings Theatre looks to press forward with multi-million pound regeneration plans

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Tennessee Williams’ first play is all about memory – and this production stays with you, although rough around the edges.

Produced by Nuffield, the show was designed by Olivier Award-winning Ultz. But the end result didn’t match his pedigree. In theory, it was a striking idea – using a live camera feed situated at the technician’s desk, the actor playing Tom (Danny Lee Wynter) was projected on to the stage. It was fitted with retractable boards that moved like a camera shutter to frame certain moments and reflect the nostalgic theme.

With her never-ending small talk drawn out in a Southern drawl, Belinda Lang as Amanda is a suffocating presence onstage – in the best sense

However, the camera caught things the audience shouldn’t see, like the actor’s water bottle and, combined with awkward transitions, distrupted the tension.

On stage, however, the acting was more polished. In contrast to her introverted daughter Laura (Pearl Chanda), Belinda Lang as Amanda chews up the minimalist scenery. With her never-ending small talk drawn out in a Southern drawl, she is a suffocating presence onstage – in the best sense. She succeeds in giving the audience empathy for her otherwise dislikeable children, whose lethargy paradoxically drives the play.

Not a satisfying play, but it is satifyingly realised. Until October 31.